University of London Observatory
[Sunspot 265 and solar flare]
Watching the Sun: a solar flare erupts on 16 June 2003

On 16 June 2003, while observing the Sun through an H-alpha filter on the Fry telescope, Dr. Francisco Diego and Mick Pearson noticed the development of a solar flare arising from a spot region on the limb of the Sun. The development of the flare was recorded on an Astrovid 'PlanetCam' colour video camera.

Some stills of the event are shown below, together with an animation showing the flare and erupted material changing over about 10 minutes. The frames in the animation are at 15-second intervals in real time.

The flare erupted from a region known as Sunspot 365, which last month was the source of several energetic flares and a severe geomagnetic storm at the Earth. The spot is just reappearing over the Sun's southeastern limb, and may be the source of more activity over the coming days. See the SpaceWeather.com website for more details.

For more information on sunspots and solar activity, follow the links given here or on the News page.

Solar flare animation (1.1M GIF) (Frames are at 15-second intervals; total real-time elapsed is about 10 minutes.)

Images taken with the Fry 8-inch Cooke refracting telescope at the University of London Observatory, Mill Hill.
All images are credit and copyright University College London (UCL)
North is left and East down in these images.

Click on the thumbnails for a bigger version (about 20kb).

The flare when first observed, c.1200 UT. About 1.5 minutes later. ... 3 minutes. ... 4 minutes:
The flare brightens and material is rapidly ejected (see below).
... 5 minutes. ... 6 minutes. ... 8 minutes. After about 10 minutes.

The following sequence shows the rapid ejection of material over a period of time just over one minute, 4 minutes into the sequence. The frames shown are at 15-second intervals.


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Last updated: 2003 June 17