RoboSWOP in a space game EUFHORIA looking for sunspot treasures

Three challenges for which the belspo BRAIN-be was funded. Find out what it is about.

Spotless Days page

Regular solar observers have noticed that since mid-2016, the Sun has occasionally been devoid of sunspots. In fact, the month of December counted another 6 spotless days (see SDO-image from 10 December underneath). These spotless disks will gradually become a familiar feature as the solar cycle is heading for its next minimum, currently expected by the end of this decade. The number of spotless days can vary significantly from one solar cycle transit to another.

The first sunspot of cycle 25 is seen!

On December 20, 10:30 UT, 2016, an USET observer made a drawing of sunspot A1. Nothing special? It is, definitely.

May we present to you the very first sunspot of solar cycle 25.


PROBA2's 45 X-class flares

The PROBA2 satellite was launched in November 2009, well in time to catch the first X-class flare of the new solar cycle (15 February 2011). The "X" in X-class flares stands for "eXtreme", and that's exactly what these flares are: the strongest class of rontgen flares that the Sun can produce.

First radio burst for ARCAS

On 24 November 2016 around 07:31UT, a brief brightening was observed in extreme ultraviolet imagery (EUV) from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (AIA094; top row images), indicating a small reconnection event. The related white-light images (bottom row) show that this reconnection took place near the southwest border of NOAA 2612's main sunspot. See the imagery underneath at resp. 07:30:12, 07:31:24UT, 07:35:00 (timings for AIA094).

SC24 and the NOAA-scales

Once again, solar activity has been very low last week. One could wonder how poor the performance of ongoing solar cycle 24 (SC24) has been compared to the previous solar cycles. For that, one could use the famous NOAA-scales which link objective solar parameters such as the x-ray flux to all kinds of practical space weather effects such as on radio communication. More details can be found on the NOAA/SWPC webpage.

The Sun 10 years in STEREO

Early October 26, 2006 the two STEREO spacecraft were launched. The twin spacecraft had to observe the Sun in stereo. Both have a similar orbit as the earth, one ahead, the other trailing behind.

The title of ‘Corresponding Astronomer’ goes to ….

And the title of ‘Corresponding Astronomer’ goes to …. Prof Jean Lilensten.

Jean Lilensten, research director of CNRS at the University of Grenoble, is a welcome guest at the Observatory and the Solar-Terrestrial Centre of Excellence. 

Sunspot gets a facelift

NOAA 2599 transited the solar disk from 3 till 15 October. It reached its largest size around 5 October, when its area was equivalent to nearly 3 times the total surface area of the Earth. During its transit, it significantly changed from outlook, becoming smaller and less complex. Solar observers watching the Sun only at the beginning and the end of the period might even have had a hard time to conclude this was the same sunspot.

So long, filament!

A filament eruption took place early on 1 October (see movie). This filament had a respectable length of about 40 degrees, i.e. more than 10% of the solar circumference or well over the average Earth-Moon distance. The feature was already visible during the previous solar rotation early September, when it transited the solar disk uneventfully (see this news item).



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