Earlier this week, it was reported that a dangerous sunspot was turning slowly but surely, towards the Earth. This sunspot had already exploded once, expelling a huge burst of coronal mass ejections (CME) into space. Usually sunspots disappear after exploding once as the magnetic imbalance wears out. However, this sunspot has been getting stronger and now, it is facing the Earth. Reports suggest that the sunspot has been getting unstable and an X-class solar flare eruption is possible as soon as today, November 11. If it does happen, it can have scary consequences for the Earth. Read on.
The report came from SpaceWeather.com which noted on its website, “Sunspot AR3141 is growing more dangerous. During the past 24 hours it has developed an unstable 'delta-class' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Any explosions today will be geoeffective because the sunspot is directly facing Earth”.
Solar flares are categorized into A, B, C, M and X. Among them, X-class solar flares are the strongest solar radiation burst. These radiation bursts can have catastrophic effects for our planet. From damaging satellites, disrupting GPS and wireless communications signals to destruction of the internet and power grids, they can bring the Earth to a halt. But that is not even the worst outcome of an X-class solar flare burst.
During such eruptions, a large amount of CME particles are also expelled. When these particles come in contact with the Earth’s magnetosphere, they can cause a second wave of solar disturbance, commonly known as solar storm. And as CME particles travel slower than the radiations coming from a solar flare burst, they hit 24-48 hours later.
Solar storms are also more concerning as they have a far more intense effect on the Earth due to close proximity to the Earth. They can damage sensitive instruments on satellites and even affect electronic devices on Earth.
Right now, it is not possible to assess exactly when this sunspot may actually explode and how intense the resultant solar flare can be but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is keeping a close eye for any new developments.
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