Largest sunspot in 24 years puzzles scientists

November 4, 2014 2:52 PM

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A large active region on the sun, an area consisting of intense and complex magnetic fields, came into view on October 18, 2014. The region, labeled AR 12192, quickly grew to the largest such region in 24 years, firing off 10 sizable solar flares as it made its way across the face of the sun. The region’s expansive size allowed it to be seen without a telescope for anyone viewing the sun with eclipse glasses, which many did during the sun’s partial eclipse on October 23.

Alex Young, solar scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement, “Despite all the flares, this region did not produce any significant coronal mass ejections.” Coronal mass ejections, or CMEs, are large clouds of solar particles that can affect technology...

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