he sun gives us life, and it might even love us, too.
A huge, heart-shaped sunspot known as active region (AR) 2529 has rotated around to face Earth. AR 2529 is currently several times larger than our planet — big enough to be spotted by amateur astronomers here on Earth.
The sun has a giant heart-shaped sunspot called Active Region 2529 that is currently facing Earth, as seen in this image from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Indeed, AR 2529 is clearly visible in two amazing photos of an airplane crossing the sun’s face that Alexander Krivenyshev of WorldTimeZone.com captured today (April 13) from his New York City apartment.
“Funny, as [I] saw that single plane far away over the horizon, I almost steer[ed] it with my mind to fly just in front of the sun,” Krivenyshev told Space.com via email. “And it happened.”
Alexander Krivenyshev of New York City captured this photo of an airplane crossing the sun’s face on April 13, 2016. The heart-shaped sunspot AR 2529 is clearly visible.
Warning: NEVER look directly at or photograph the sun unless you have the proper protective equipment. Serious and permanent eye damage can result.
Sunspots are dark patches on the surface of the sun that are a bit cooler than surrounding areas. As the term “active region” suggests, sunspots serve as launchpads for solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) — huge eruptions that send clouds of solar plasma racing into space at millions of miles per hour.
AR 2529 has been pretty quiet to date, though it did blast out a small CME on Sunday (April 10). That CME could sideswipe Earth’s magnetic field sometime today, according to spaceweather.com.