Angry Sun blasts Earth! Solar storm, solar flare and now, sunspot, planet faces torrid time | Tech News

Angry Sun blasts Earth! Solar storm, solar flare and now, sunspot, planet faces torrid time

As the Earth reaches its perihelion, the Sun has sprung into action. After a solar storm struck yesterday, January 4, now a solar flare and a farside sunspot could hit our planet. Check details.

| Updated on: Jan 05 2023, 15:17 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
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1/5 The Sun is the largest object in our solar system and is a 4.5 billion-year-old star – a hot glowing ball of hydrogen and helium at the center of the solar system. It is about 93 million miles (150 million kilometers) from Earth, and without its energy, life as we know it could not exist here on our home planet. (Pixabay)
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2/5 The Sun’s volume would need 1.3 million Earths to fill it. Its gravity holds the solar system together, keeping everything from the biggest planets to the smallest bits of debris in orbit around it. The hottest part of the Sun is its core, where temperatures top 27 million degrees Fahrenheit (15 million degrees Celsius). The Sun’s activity, from its powerful eruptions to the steady stream of charged particles it sends out, influences the nature of space throughout the solar system. (NASA)
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3/5 According to NASA, measuring a “day” on the Sun is complicated because of the way it rotates. It doesn't spin as a single, solid ball. This is because the Sun’s surface isn't solid like Earth's. Instead, the Sun is made of super-hot, electrically charged gas called plasma. This plasma rotates at different speeds on different parts of the Sun. At its equator, the Sun completes one rotation in 25 Earth days. At its poles, the Sun rotates once on its axis every 36 Earth days. (NASA)
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4/5 Above the Sun’s surface are its thin chromosphere and the huge corona (crown). This is where we see features such as solar prominences, flares, and coronal mass ejections. The latter two are giant explosions of energy and particles that can reach Earth. (Pixabay)
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5/5 The Sun doesn’t have moons, but eight planets orbit it, at least five dwarf planets, tens of thousands of asteroids, and perhaps three trillion comets and icy bodies. Also, several spacecraft are currently investigating the Sun including Parker Solar Probe, STEREO, Solar Orbiter, SOHO, Solar Dynamics Observatory, Hinode, IRIS, and Wind. (Pixabay)
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After the Earth was hit by a dangerous solar storm, more solar disturbances are ready to blast the planet. (Pixabay)

The Sun has been extremely active the past few days, and it is a terrifying development for us. Right now, the Earth is in its perihelion, the point in its orbit where it is the closest to the Sun, and a hyperactive Sun can easily spell disaster for us. Yesterday, January 4, the Earth suffered a massive solar storm that even moved a satellite away from its path. And before we could recover from it, more solar disturbances are aiming for our planet. While on one hand, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has warned for a solar flare possibility that can go off today, NASA has revealed about a potentially dangerous farside explosion on the Sun. Read on for details.

The Sun bombards the Earth with solar disturbances

The latest development came from a report by which noted, “NOAA forecasters say there is a 30% chance of M-class solar flares today, Jan. 5th. The most likely source is sunspot AR3180, which has an unstable 'beta-gamma' magnetic field. Any flares it produces will be geoeffective because AR3180 is directly facing Earth”.

But this is not all. The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) detected a farside explosion on the Sun. This explosion was so strong that its shock waves were detected on both the poles of the Sun. If it were directed towards the Earth, it could have led to massive destruction to satellites, disruption to all wireless communications including mobile network, damage to internet services, power grid failures and more. But concerningly, this particular region, which is believed to be a sunspot, will face the Earth soon, and if it is unstable, more such explosions can be directed towards the Earth.

The Earth's current position with respect to the Sun also complicates the situation. No matter which solar disturbance strikes the Earth, its impact would be significantly strong as the Earth itself is close to the Sun. What it also means is that extreme solar storms like the Carrington event are also not out of the question.

The tech that predicts solar storm

While many space agencies from NASA with its Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) keep track of Sun-based weather phenomena, one that particularly stands out is the DSCOVR satellite by NOAA. The satellite became operational in 2016 and tracks different measurements of the Sun and its atmosphere including temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation and frequency of the solar particles. The recovered data is then run through the Space Weather Prediction Center and the final analysis is prepared.

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First Published Date: 05 Jan, 14:51 IST