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Large Sunspot 4 Years After the Max

A sunspot that appeared on April 25 has grown to five timesthe size of the earth as it transits the solar disk. It isunusual for large sunspots to continue to appear so longafter a solar max. The peak of the eleven year solaractivity cycle was 11 years ago.

At present, this sunspot appears capable of producingM-class solar flares, but if it continues to grow over thenext few days, it might generate X-class flares.

The fact that sunspots are still appearing during a solarminimum is not a sign of danger, but it is unusual enough tobe of interest to solar scientists. It may portend adramatic solar max next time. The next solar maximum willpeak in 2012.

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