‘No need to panic,’ experts say

‘No need to panic,’ experts say

  • A sunspot, called AR3038, has doubled in size every day for the past three days, a NASA scientist has said. As sunspots grow, the chances of solar flares are higher.
  • Solar flares can disrupt radio communications and power grids on Earth. But this sunspot isn’t particularly likely to cause intense flares, experts told USA TODAY.
  • The eruptions also have little effect on most people on Earth, experts reassured, saying “there is no need to panic”.
A sunspot, called active region 3038 or AR3038, has the potential to cause solar flares.

An Earth-pointing sunspot has the potential to cause solar flares, but experts told USA TODAY it’s far from unusual and has allayed concerns about how flares will affect the blue planet.

Active region 3038, or AR3038, has been increasing over the past week, said Rob Steenburgh, acting manager of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Space Weather Prediction. The size and growth rate of the sunspot are fairly normal, he said.

“That’s what sunspots do,” he said. “Over time, usually they grow. They go through stages and then they break down.”

A PLANET-SIZED SUNSPOT IS POINTING TOWARDS EARTH:What happens if there are solar flares?

What are sunspots and solar flares?

Sunspots appear darker because they are cooler than other parts of the sun’s surface, according to NASA. Sunspots are cooler because they form where strong magnetic fields prevent the sun’s heat from reaching its surface.

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