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4 July 2012

Sunspot AR1515Photo: AR1515, image from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

CHANCE OF X-FLARES: The chance of an X-flare today is increasing as sunspot AR1515 develops a ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for the most powerful explosions.

The sunspot itself is huge, stretching more than 100,000 km (8 Earth-diameters) from end to end. The behemoth has been growing and turning toward Earth over the past five days.

If any X-flares do occur today, they will certainly be Earth-directed. The sunspot is directly facing our planet. Radio blackouts, sudden ionospheric disturbances, and geomagnetic storms could be in the offing.