Solar Eclipse Today and the Largest Sunspot in 18 Years

October 23rd, 2014 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Just a reminder of the partial solar eclipse today, Thursday October 23, which will provide eastern U.S. watchers with the best display near sunset. Do not view the sun without eye protection! (even multiple sunglasses are unsafe)

Giant sunspot group 2192, the largest since 1996, will also be pointed toward Earth. This spot has been “crackling” with flares, and it is a little mystifying that a large coronal mass ejection (CME) event has not yet occurred. Here’s a self-updating movie of the solar disk through today, as sunspot 2192 rotates into an Earth-pointing position:

A major CME event in the next few days from Sunspot 2192 could produce auroral displays into the middle latitudes a few days after the CME.

Over the eastern U.S. the eclipse will peak near sunset, and over the western U.S. the eclipse will occur during the afternoon and end before sunset. Weather will allow viewing over much of the country, but cloudy and rainy weather will exist at eclipse time over the Pacific Northwest, Wisconsin, and New England. Here’s a cloud forecast movie for the U.S.

I’ll be doing a time lapse video of the setting sun, weather permitting, when the partial eclipse will peak at about 40% at sunset at my location. I hope to also catch the sunspot group, which currently looks like this in visible light:

Sunspot group 2192 on October 23, 2014, as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Sunspot group 2192 on October 23, 2014, as seen by the Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Here’s an eclipse calculator simulation for your location.

DO NOT view the sun with the naked eye! Advice on methods for safely viewing the sun are provided by Astro Bob at

8 Responses to “Solar Eclipse Today and the Largest Sunspot in 18 Years”

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  1. Mike Haseler says:

    “Do not view the sun without eye protection!”

    I suggest using Intergalactic Photon Cleaning Cream, it’s proven 100% effective against seeing anything you don’t want to.

  2. It is large with little to no action thus far. As the maximum of solar cycle 24 extends it means this solar cycle will be very long which means solar activity will be very weak overall going forward. I still say the prolonged solar minimum is alive and well.

    That does not mean however a stray large flair may not strike the earth.

  3. I think it is worth mentioning that tinted transparent materials in general, such as combinations of stage lighting filter gels, colored acrylic sheets, and photographic filters are generally unsafe for viewing the sun. Most dyes and glass tinting materials pass infrared easily. This is especially true of stage lighting filter gels, whose transparency to infrared helps to minimize heating of these filters. The only common tinted transparent materials that significantly attenuate infrared are probably welding glasses.

    Also, don’t use an eyepiece filter in a telescope for viewing the sun. I have known of some telescopes being sold in the past with eyepiece filters for viewing the sun. Such filters can overheat and break.

  4. Gunga Din says:

    Putting my ignorance on display. (I do that more than I care to admit.8-))
    What protection would the Moon provide from a solar flare?

  5. Roy Spencer says:

    Total bust in Huntsville. Thick cirrus clouds managed to move in at just the right time to ruin viewing. Then spectacular red colors in the clouds after sunset.

  6. CS says:

    the sunspot was easily visible to the naked eye yesterday. Well, I mean to the unmagnified but adequately shielded eye.

  7. ren says:

    Current increase in solar activity will accelerate polar vortex and perpetuated the polar vortex pattern. It is similar to last year (shift over Europe). Gradually it will work on the lower layers of the atmosphere. Arctic air outside the vortex over the Bering Strait will be pour in North America.

  8. ren says:

    Let’s see how the increase in solar activity (changing the parameters of the solar wind) immediately caused a decline in the galactic radiation.

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