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Largest Sunspot in Decades Wowing Astronomers!

Just last weekend, NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory (SDO) caught sight of a gigantic dark blemish marring the surface of the Sun. This blemish, called a “sun spot,” is the largest seen in this current solar cycle. If you have a pair of safe solar glasses go get ‘em and have a look. Its covering a surface area that could swallow 10 Earth’s whole! The new sunspot in question is nearly 80,0000 miles across, according to NASA. Massive sunspots like these are so large that they can be noticed by the naked eye, and were even regularly recorded by ancient Chinese astronomers by 28 BC. This way, we know that this is not the largest sunspot ever seen. While ancient records do not indicate size with accuracy, the largest sunspot on modern record (in 1947) was almost three times as large as this one. Still, the current sunspot, labeled AR 12192, is the largest seen since before 2008, when the current solar cycle – the periodic change in the Sun’s activity and appearance – began. UPDATE: 26 October 8.30am AEST Solar activity continues to be at high levels this weekend as giant sunspot AR2192 crackles with strong flares, including two X-class explosions in less than 24 hours. The flares are causing intermittent HF radio blackouts around the day side of Earth. However, no major CMEs are yet heading in our direction. Visit spaceweather.com for more information and updates. More pics via Space and Astronomy News.

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