A few months ago, we posted several stories about huge solar flares. Since the sun periodically has cycles of sun spots, which disrupt cell phone communications and pose a hazard for astronauts on spacewalks, why should this be a problem? But the Earth's magnetic poles are now in the process of flipping, which weakens the magnetic shield that protects us from the radiation sent out by these gigantic solar flares.
Spaceweather.com reports that a big spot has appeared on the sun called sunspot 564. When it first appeared only a few days ago, it was tiny and unremarkable, but since then, it has grown wider than eight planet Earths. The active region can be seen without a telescope (but never look directly at the sun. Unfiltered sunlight can damage your eyes). Visit spaceweather.com for safe solar observing tips and a video of the growing sunspot.
Wondering what's up with the sun? Dr. Paul La Violette's brilliant book might just tell us. It explains why we had a cataclysm 15,000 years ago, and what could trigger another one.
NOTE: This news story, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.