As the Sun nears its solar maximum, the peak of its solar activity, it is behaving in a far erratic manner. Last week it was observed that as many as 32 coronal mass ejection (CME) incidents took place, which is far higher than anything we have seen in recent times. And today, two sunspots on the far side of the Sun have been detected which are so large that it is affecting the entire gas giant. Due to the huge area of spread and strong electromagnetic fields, the Sun’s vibration itself has shifted. This has raised alarms for scientists as it is hard to tell if this is a natural event for the Sun or something unusual is happening. And to make matters worse, one of these sunspots will be facing the Earth in just two days’ time. If it explodes then, we might witness an extremely strong solar storm.
The report comes from SpaceWearther.com which noted on its website, “There are two sunspots on the far-side of the sun so large they are affecting the way the sun vibrates. Take a look at this helioseismic map. The two dark regions are echoes of farside spots. One of them (on the left) will rotate onto the Earthside of the sun in 2 days”. The source also shared a helioseismic map to highlight exactly how these sunspots are affecting the Sun. You can check it here.
Since the Sun is a burning hot structure, the materials on it are not solid and are in a state of constant movement. This movement, which can often be high speed, can produce pressure waves that travel through the Sun and reach its surface. This pressure causes it to vibrate. This vibration takes place in a fixed pattern but ever since these two sunspots appeared, the vibration pattern has shifted. This highlights that the sunspots carry an extremely high amount of magnetic fields within itself.
If an eruption takes place when one of the sunspots faces the Earth in two days, the result could be devastating. A G5 class solar storm can be possible which can entirely destroy small satellites like Starlink and cause damage to GPS systems and both mobile network and internet services. Further, power grids and Earth-based sensitive electronic devices are also under threat from this potential solar storm.
There is a chance that the sunspot explodes before it faces the Earth or it never explodes and just disappears naturally, but for now, constant monitoring is the only option we have to ensure that if it does erupt, we can know at the earliest and take some countermeasures.
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