6 MASSIVE solar flare eruptions have SHOOK the Earth; Know the solar storm danger | Tech News

6 MASSIVE solar flare eruptions have SHOOK the Earth; Know the solar storm danger

Since Monday, as many as 6 M-class solar flares have erupted in the newly formed sunspot AR3234. And worryingly, the sunspot continues to grow. Can this result in a massive solar storm? Find out.

| Updated on: Feb 23 2023, 11:12 IST
NASA: From Solar Winds, Solar Flares to CME, check how solar phenomena impact Earth
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1/5 The harrowing thing is that it will not just be China that would be affected by such a devastating solar storm. (NASA)
Solar Flare
2/5 Solar Flares: Solar flares are photon flares emitted from the Sun which travel from the flare site. They are rated on the basis of their intensity with the highest being an X-rated solar flare. It can cause power and radio blackouts and are responsible for the stunning phenomenon known to us as the Northern Lights or Auroras. (NASA/SDO)
Solar Flare
3/5 Coronal Mass Ejections (CME): CMEs are massive plasma clouds carrying photons that are ejected from the Sun. CME occurs during the solar cycle and is at peak in the middle of the cycle. (NASA)
Solar Flare
4/5 Solar Winds: Solar winds are high speed winds coming from holes in the Sun called Coronal holes. These holes can form anywhere on the surface of the Sun. If these solar winds prevail near the solar equator, they can cause impact on Earth, according to NASA. (Pixabay)
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5/5 Solar Energetic Particles: Solar energetic particles are emitted from the Sun during Coronal Mass Ejections. These are charged particles; hence they follow the magnetic field lines between the Sun and the Earth and if they pass the magnetic fields near Earth, they have an impact. (NASA)
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The Earth has suffered a hit from 6 dangerous solar flare eruptions since Monday. Know the latest solar storm update. (NASA SDO)

Yesterday, February 22, it was reported that a new sunspot has emerged on the Sun and it appears to be extremely unstable. The sunspot AR3234 was first spotted on the Earth-facing side of the Sun on Sunday and ever since, it has been growing continuously. Since Monday, it has caused as many as six M-class solar flares with no indication of stopping. These flares have bombarded the upper atmosphere of the Earth with radiation that has caused continuous radio blackouts for low frequency waves. Above all, there is a fear that in the coming days, there could be a massive solar storm event caused by the sunspot.

The development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted on its website, “Growing sunspot AR3234 is crackling with solar flares, including more than half a dozen M-class events since Monday. Pulses of radiation are ionizing the top of Earth's atmosphere, causing a rolling series of shortwave radio blackouts around all longitudes of our planet. This sunspot will become even more geoeffective in the days ahead as it continues to turn toward Earth”.

Non-stop solar flares trouble the Earth

This particular sunspot has become a source of worry for astronomers. In recent times, we have seen larger and more unstable sunspots but they have always formed on the farside of the Sun and have exploded when they were not on the Earth-facing side. However, AR3234 was born on the solar disk overlooking the Earth and it is expected to stay here for a few more days. This means that more solar flare eruptions are on the way.

Concerns are around X-class solar flares as well. Just last week, the Earth suffered the blow of an X2.2-class flare which caused radio blackouts all across the American continents. Further, a massive solar flare eruption is also likely to release a huge amount of coronal mass ejection (CME) which can cause a devastating solar storm on Earth.

Such solar storms can potentially damage satellites, break down mobile networks and internet services, cause power grid failures and corrupt sensitive ground-based electronics. But it is too early to say whether this can happen or not. For now, astronomers are closely monitoring the situation around this sunspot.

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First Published Date: 23 Feb, 11:11 IST