Alert! Giant sunspot emerges on Sun; can blast dangerous X-class solar flares at Earth

    One of the largest sunspots of the year has emerged on the Sun. Scientists are concerned that it can cause an X-class solar flare eruption directed towards the Earth.
    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Oct 04 2022, 14:34 IST
    WARNING! Solar Storm to hit Earth soon
    According to Spaceweather.com’s report, the new sunspot is so huge that it is even changing the way the sun vibrates. The Space Weather Prediction Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted that the geomagnetic field around Earth would be unsettled over the weekend which could disrupt the radio-magnetic sphere.
    1/5 According to Spaceweather.com’s report, the new sunspot is so huge that it is even changing the way the sun vibrates. The Space Weather Prediction Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted that the geomagnetic field around Earth would be unsettled over the weekend which could disrupt the radio-magnetic sphere. (nasa.gov)
    Solar flare
    2/5 Spaceweather.com said, “A high speed stream of solar wind is approaching Earth. Estimated time of arrival: Aug. 9th. The gaseous material is flowing from an equatorial hole in the sun's atmosphere. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras.” (SDO/NASA)
    Coronal Mass Ejection or CME
    3/5 Solar storms occur due to a coronal mass ejection (CME) that is set off on the surface of the Sun. As per the K-index, which measures the magnetic field around the Earth, solar storms are divided into 5 classes from G-1 to G-5. The G-1 is the lowest impact solar G5 is given to the most severe solar storms. (Pixabay)
    Solar flare
    4/5 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. (Pixabay)
    Aurora or Northern lights
    5/5 When solar flares hit Earth, they interact with the Earth’s electromagnetic field to cause a Geomagnetic storm. It may cause blackouts, GPS problems. However, if the solar storm is big enough, it can wreak havoc on all the earth's technological infrastructure. It is also the reason behind the stunning night-sky phenomenon that we know as Auroras or Northern Lights. (Pixabay)
    solar storm
    View all Images
    A gigantic sunspot on the Sun has created a solar flare scare for the Earth. (Pixabay)

    Just hours after the Earth was struck by a G2-class solar storm, a scarier development has occurred on the Sun. A new sunspot has emerged on the Earth-facing side of the solar disk. And this sunspot, named AR3112, is one of the largest seen this year. Just based on its size, it is capable of causing an X-class solar flare which can result in widespread radio blackout on Earth. The event was recorded using the tech marvel DSCOVR satellite. It has various instruments to observe temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation and frequency of solar particles ejecting from the Sun and calculates their intensity. So, can this sunspot spell disaster for us? Read on to find out.

    The concerning development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted on its website, “One of the biggest sunspots in years has just rotated over the sun's northeastern limb. AR3112 has more than a dozen dark cores scattered across 130,000 km of solar terrain. The emergence of AR3112, already fully formed and unstable, could herald two weeks of high solar activity as the sunspot group transits the solar disk, facing Earth the whole time”.

    Giant sunspot spells trouble for Earth

    The multiple cores and the conflicting magnetic lines in the sunspot makes it a very volatile and dangerous space. The sunspot is fully capable of triggering an X-class solar flare. X-class solar flares are the strongest witnessed by scientists. They can send radiation so powerful that a widespread area can experience radio blackouts. Just yesterday, a solar flare eruption caused GPS disruption and emergency service providers in the USA, who are battling hurricane Ian, were rendered useless for a period of time.

    Earlier this month, another solar flare eruption caused radio blackouts in regions of Africa and the Middle East. Solar flares are also a premonition of incoming solar storms which usually hit the Earth 24-48 hours after the eruption. Solar flare strikes typically take about 8 minutes since it only contains radiation.

    Also, the risk with this particular sunspot is that there could be multiple such solar flare strikes in the time it faces the Earth, compounding the effect it can cause. Such radiation blasts can disrupt GPS, Internet and mobile phone networks. That would entirely eliminate communication systems and cause massive chaos in the world.

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    First Published Date: 04 Oct, 14:10 IST
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