NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:
It’s the biggest sunspot of 2017 so far and AR2665 is now facing Earth and it’s massive, according to Saceweather.com it is stretching more than 120,000 km from end to end.
Moreover, it has an unstable ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class explosions. Any eruptions today would be squarely Earth-directed.
For the past 24 hours AR2665 has been strangely quiet–a sign of impotence?
Or the calm before the storm?
On Sunday AR2665 released an M-class explosion which is the highest since AR2664 released a M5.8-class flare in April.
The last time our Sun released an X-class flare, the largest category was way way back, more than two years ago in May 2015.
NASA announced last month a new Solar Minimum is coming, every 11 years sunpsots fade away, this event is called a Solar Minimum and this is happening now with 2019, 2020, expected to be the the quietest period.
Some experts believe sunspot activity is as low as the mid 1600’s when low sunspot activity is thought to have caused a mini ice age, temperatures around the world would suggest that is not going to happen this time.
From the mid 1600’s to early 1700’s, a period of very low sunspot activity (known as the Maunder Minimum) coincided with a number of long winters and severe cold temperatures in Western Europe, called the Little Ice Age.
It is not known whether the two phenomena are linked or if it was just coincidence.