SOLAR ACTIVITY ALERT: With little warning, three big sunspots have materialized and on March 25th one of them (989) unleashed an M2-class solar flare. This is the biggest flare of the year and it signals a significant increase in solar activity. "It's March Madness," says Greg Piepol who photographed the three sunspots from his backyard observatory in Rockville, Maryland:
LISTEN: During the M2-flare, radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft heard a curious "heaving sound" coming from the loudspeaker of his 21 MHz radio telescope in New Mexico: listen. "It was a Type II solar radio burst," he explains. The burst was generated by a shock wave at the leading edge of a CME produced by yesterday's explosion: movie.