Exponential growth of Sunspot creates a new solar storm SCARE for Earth, reveals NASA
The Sunspot AR3234 has quadrupled in size in the last 48 hours, NASA has observed. Check how it may increase the Earth’s chances of a solar storm.
For about a week now, the Sun was relentlessly blasting the Earth with solar flares. But today, February 24, it appears that there will be a brief period of rest as no solar flares or coronal mass ejection (CME) are incoming to spark solar storms for Earth to deal with. But there is no reason to celebrate as another terrifying development is taking place on the Earth-facing solar disk. The sunspot AR32334, which first appeared on the Sun on Monday, has been crackling with solar flares. NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory has now reported that the sunspot has grown quadruple its size in just 48 hours. As the sunspot is going to stay in our planet's view for the next few days, the fear of a massive solar storm is high.
The development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted on its website, “Active sunspot AR3234 is not only turning toward Earth, but also growing rapidly. AR3234 has a 'delta-class' magnetic field that harbors energy for strong solar flares. NOAA forecasters estimate a 60% chance of M-class flares and a 20% chance of X-flares on Feb. 24th”.
Solar storm fears increase
Such a sudden growth of a sunspot is not an everyday occurrence. This indicates that the sunspot contains a high amount of magnetic flux which is impacting the region around it. Such growth is usually followed up with a large explosion where solar flares erupt. However, this sunspot has already birthed six different solar flares so far and predictions suggest that more are on the way, and they can be as severe as X-class solar flares.
Such eruptions release a huge amount of coronal mass ejections into space, and it can reach the Earth and cause yet another solar storm. Considering how powerful the eruption was, the resultant solar storm can be extremely powerful. A powerful solar storm can potentially damage satellites, break down mobile networks and internet services, cause power grid failures and corrupt sensitive ground-based electronics such as pacemakers and ventilators. However, whether this solar storm can turn so dangerous is something we have to wait and watch.
Know about the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory
The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (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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