Giant Sunspot Threatens Earth, Solar Flare Can Cause Blackouts

Giant Sunspot Threatens Earth, Solar Flare Can Cause Blackouts

The Sun should explode any day now.

Solar researchers have their eye on a huge sunspot nicknamed AR3055, which is over 6,100 miles wide. These regions, which appear as dark moles on the surface of the Sun, are concentrations of relatively cooler temperatures caused by magnetic flux.

“There is an incredible-looking sunspot crossing the center of the solar disk and a new large dark core has just appeared on the limb,” astronomer Apollo Lasky said in a statement posted Monday to SpaceWeather.com.

And it almost directly faces the Earth, which poses a threat to our way of life.

Researchers don’t know if AR3055 grew to its current size from a smaller existing point or grew rapidly on its own over the weekend, according to SpaceWeather.com, which also shared motion pictures. of the point, which has more than a dozen. , swirling cores of magnetic energy.

solar flare illustration
Researchers have their eye on a massive sunspot measuring more than 6,100 miles wide, which could cause a solar flare inducing radio blackout
Reuters

A sunspot like AR3055 could result in a potentially damaging “M-class” solar flare, or bursts of high-energy radiation that could last for hours. Class M flares are considered medium in size, but have the power to cause radio blackouts in space and here on Earth.

Flares expel plasma from the Sun’s outer layer, or corona. When the shock wave, called a coronal mass ejection, finally hits our atmosphere – which takes about eight minutes – it creates geomagnetic storms with varying effects on satellites, GPS and power grids in the areas it strikes, as well as natural processes, including animal migration, that depend on the magnetic field to navigate.

Flares are ranked by intensity, with Types C and B falling below M, and X being the strongest of all, which could trigger planet-wide blackouts and radiation storms.

The latest M-class flare to threaten Earth was seen last month by sunspot AR3038, as scientists warned of a potential radio silence of around 10 minutes resulting from sunspot AR3038.

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