Geomagnetic storm warning! Two dangerous sunspots pockmark the Sun, reveals NOAA satellite | Tech News

Geomagnetic storm warning! Two dangerous sunspots pockmark the Sun, reveals NOAA satellite

The threat of geomagnetic storms has increased as two new unstable sunspots have appeared on the Earth-facing side of the Sun. NOAA satellite imagery has captured the active regions.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Jun 15 2023, 11:49 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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Geomagnetic storm threat rises for the Earth. (Pixabay)

It has been two days since the coronal mass ejection (CME) cloud narrowly missed the Earth. Astronomers predicted that the existing sunspots were not likely to pose any further threats to our planet as all of them began decaying and were losing their unstable delta magnetic field, which is responsible for solar flare eruptions. However, it might have been too early to celebrate as a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite has spotted two new sunspots emerge on the Earth-facing side of the Sun. And one of them is large enough to produce X-class solar flares and issue fresh geomagnetic threats to the Earth.

According to a report by SpaceWeather.com, “A pair of new sunspot groups is emerging near the sun's southeastern limb. One of them is potentially large and could pose a threat for flares as it turns toward Earth later this week”. These sunspots, named AR3333 and AR 3334, are filled with unstable delta-class magnetic fields that can produce powerful solar flares.

Geomagnetic storms can strike the Earth later this week

If you have been wondering why there is such high solar activity in recent times, the reason is that the Sun is reaching the peak of its solar cycle. The Solar Maximum of the Solar Cycle 25 is expected to arrive by the middle of 2024, and with less than a year to go for it, solar activities have been ramping up.

This is why every month, the total number of sunspots and the frequency of geomagnetic storms and solar flare eruptions have been well ahead of the monthly average. Interestingly, the month of June has been quiet so far, but with the arrival of two new sunspots, that can change soon.

If the solar activity keeps intensifying, a G5-class geomagnetic storm can soon strike the Earth. uch a massively intense storm can damage GPS, impact mobile networks and internet connectivity as well as cause power grid failure. It can also cause malfunctions in our electronic devices.

For now, the Earth is just playing a waiting game but the Sun is sure to catch up soon enough.

NOAA's Sun monitoring system

NOAA monitors solar storms and Sun's behavior using its DSCOVR satellite which became operational in 2016. The recovered data is then run through the Space Weather Prediction Center and the final analysis is prepared. The different measurements are done on temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation, and frequency of the solar particles.

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First Published Date: 15 Jun, 10:47 IST
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