NEW SUNSPOTS MATERIALIZE: Reversing the recent trend of crashing sunspot numbers, two new active regions emerged over the weekend: AR2627 and AR2628. A 48-hour movie from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory shows their surprise emergence. The dark cores have grown so large, they are now visible in photos of the sunset, like this one captured on Sunday evening by Enrico Finotto of Treviso, Italy:
"I caught the new sunspots just as a plane was passing by--perfect timing," says Finotto.
The sunspots announced themselves on Saturday with a flurry of minor C-class solar flares. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded this one (C9.3) on Jan 21st at 0726 UT:
If these sunspots continue to grow, solar flare activity could intensify. Stay tuned for updates.