Oh my! Sol apparently didn’t get the memo that it’s past solar maximum, and time to be heading towards solar minimum. There are a couple massive sunspot groups (Active Regions) on the Sun, and one in particular has magnetic fields harboring enough energy to generate X-class solar flares.
AR2674 hasn’t changed much in size over the the last few days, but it is still a very active region with large coronal loops.
AR2673 was an innocuous little spot last week, then over the weekend ballooned out into an area larger than the Earth, with intense magnetic fields.
On September 4th, AR2673 spit out a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) towards Earth – due to hit Earth’s magnetic field today (Sept. 6th), and causing G3-class geomagnetic storms on September 6th and 7th; effects can include: GPS problems, intermittent HF radio, spacecraft surface charging, power system voltage corrections, etc…
Aurora watchers may want to keep an eye on the Auroral Oval, as increased auroral activity is likely.
SpaceWeather.com featured this beautiful image of AR2673 on their website on Sept. 6th.
UPDATE: At 5:10 a.m. EDT, AR2673 blasted off an X2.2 solar flare – the most powerful flare seen since 2015; then at 8:02 a.m. EDT, a mere 3 hours later, and while I was writing this post, AR2673 followed-up with an even more powerful X9.3 flare! The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) says that the last X9 flare occurred in 2006.