Giant Sunspot may eject solar flares at Earth! Threatens blackouts
Solar flares can cause damage to communications infrastructure on Earth apart from the power grid.
A giant sunspot on the solar surface and the filaments it has thrown up are worrying astronomers as they may spark off a geomagnetic storm on Earth. With the Sun being in an active phase of its 11-year cycle, scientists are worried that the solar flares heading towards Earth may cause damage to communications and electricity infrastructure on Earth including knocking out the internet, mobile phones, satellites and more. However, this can happen only if the solar storm is extremely powerful.
Sunspot AR3035 has been found pretty active and it may send Earth-directed solar flares. As reported by New York Post, the sunspot AR3035 has grown 6,100 miles (9,816 km) wide and is directly facing the Earth. And the horrific thing is astronomers know a very little about this sunspot. They aren't sure whether the enormous size of the sunspot is caused due to a merger of sunspots or it has grown into this size on its own. Last month, scientists observed sunspot AR3038 that grew three times the size of the Earth in just a few hours.
Even after so many Earth-based observatories capturing movements at the Sun, it's really tough to observe a solar storm as it can hit the Earth at a million miles an hour without without providing much notice. According to the latest report by SpaceWeather.com, the solar surface has been acting up a lot in recent weeks. The filaments of the sunspot are monstrous with each one being approximately the distance between the Earth and the Moon, i.e., 238,880 miles (384,400 km).
These solar filaments are highly unstable and hence may erupt and send solar debris toward the Earth too. Spaceweather.com earlier predicted a minor G1-class geomagnetic storm heading towards Earth on July 13th morning.
For the unversed, geomagnetic storms are measured on "G scale" from 1 to 5 with G1 being minor and G5 being extreme. The Carrington Event that took place in 1859 is the largest recorded account of a geomagnetic storm and it was rated G5. The strength of the Carrington Event is calculated based on the fluctuations of Earth's magnetic field recorded by observatories at that time.
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