Earth could face the risk of severe impact by solar flares emitted by a huge sunspot which is three times the size of the Earth! Here’s more about about it.
A massive sunspot present on the Earth-facing side of the solar disk could pose a threat to the Earth. A dark sunspot has recently emerged on the Sun and is facing the Earth, increasing the risk of solar flares eruption. This can cause huge amounts of concentrated energy to be shot towards Earth and when it hits, it can impact everything from mobile phone connectivity, satellites, GPS, Internet and the power grid itself.
Earlier this week, NASA had reported 8 new sunspots emerging on the Earth-facing side of the Sun which could cause a major impact on our planet. They have been named in the solar region 3030, 3031, 3032, 3033, 3034, 3035, 3037 and 3038. Now, it has been reported that one of the sunspots has doubled in 24 hours and has become three times the size of the Earth.
According to Tony Phillips, the author of SpaceWeather.com, ‘Yesterday, sunspot AR3038 was big. Today, it’s enormous,”
“The fast-growing sunspot has doubled in size in only 24 hours,” Phillips added.
This sunspot has the potential to emit M-class solar flares towards Earth which can cause physical damage. Due to the unstable Beta-gamma magnetic field of the sunspot, it may cause blackouts, GPS problems on the negative side and on the positive side, some fascinating auroras on the poles.
When a solar flare hits the Earth, the radio communications and the power grid is affected when it hits the Earth’s magnetic field. It can cause power and radio blackouts for several hours or even days. However, electricity grid problems occur only if the solar flare is extremely large.
What is a Sunspot?
According to NASA, Sunspots are dark areas on the solar surface which contain strong magnetic fields that are constantly shifting and can form and dissipate over periods of days or weeks. They occur when strong magnetic fields emerge through the solar surface and allow the area to cool slightly. This area appears as a dark spot in contrast with the very bright photosphere of the sun.
Sunspots are often considered the precursor to solar flares.