Dangerous sunspot emerges on Sun, can BLAST powerful solar storms at Earth | Tech News

Dangerous sunspot emerges on Sun, can BLAST powerful solar storms at Earth

After causing an X-class solar flare yesterday, January 6, the sunspot AR3182 is now threatening the Earth with more solar storm activity. Check details.

| Updated on: Jan 07 2023, 10:39 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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Know all about this dangerous sunspot that is posing a solar storm threat to Earth. (Pixabay)

Yesterday, January 6, it was reported that an X-class solar flare struck the Earth and caused a shortwave radio blackout over a large area of South Pacific, including Australia and New Zealand. Now, NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has revealed that the solar flare came from a sunspot called AR3182. Notably, this is the same sunspot that caused a massive explosion on the farside of the Sun on January 2. However, the sunspot appears far from done and it can explode again causing powerful solar storm activity on the Earth.

The development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted, “Newly-emerging sunspot AR3182 poses a threat for strong solar flares. On Jan. 3rd it produced a probable X-class eruption on the farside of the sun, followed on Jan. 6th by a definite X-flare on the Earthside. Given the size and apparent complexity of this large active region, there's a good chance the explosions will continue in the days ahead”.

Dangerous sunspot creates solar storm scare

While the sunspot itself is dangerous and unpredictable, which creates trouble for the Earth, a larger issue is that our planet is in its perihelion position. For the unaware, perihelion is the position in the orbit of a celestial body when it is the closest to the cosmic object it is revolving around. So, right now the Earth is the closest to the Sun it has been the entire year. And a sunspot explosion right now could definitely mean an overly intense impact for us.

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Even if it is not as intense as the Carrington event, it can still cause a G5-class solar storm which will not only damage satellites and disrupt wireless communications such as internet services, mobile network and GPS, it can also cause power grid failures and even disrupt personal healthcare electronics such as pacemakers worn by people.

For now, all we can do is wait and continue to observe the sunspot for any future activity.

How NASA SDO collects its data

The NASA SDO carries a full suite of instruments to observe the Sun and has been doing so since 2010. It uses three very crucial instruments to collect data from various solar activities. They include Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) which takes high-resolution measurements of the longitudinal and vector magnetic field over the entire visible solar disk, Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) which measures the Sun's extreme ultraviolet irradiance and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) which provides continuous full-disk observations of the solar chromosphere and corona in seven extreme ultraviolet (EUV) channels.

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First Published Date: 07 Jan, 10:38 IST