Horror unfolding on the far side of Sun, apocalyptic solar storm coming towards Earth? | Tech News

Horror unfolding on the far side of Sun, apocalyptic solar storm coming towards Earth?

One of the largest sunspots seen in the last five years emerges on the farside of the Sun. Can it bring an apocalyptic solar storm event to the Earth?

| Updated on: Nov 24 2022, 14:13 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
Solar storm
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)
Solar storm
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)
Solar storm
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Earth could face a solar storm threat as a gigantic sunspot has popped up on the far side of the Sun. (NASA)

For months, scientists have warned that the frequency and intensity of solar disturbances will be increasing significantly as the Sun reaches close to the peak of its solar cycle. And it appears that the first sign of the Sun's wrath is already upon us. Using its technology through a method called Helioseismology, researchers have observed a sunspot on the farside of the Sun. And while sunspots are regular occurrences, this one is one of the largest sunspots seen in the last five years. If it explodes, it will definitely cause an extreme solar storm event which can damage both satellites in space and electronics on ground. From internet connection to mobile networks, all can be destroyed in an instant. So, read on to know if a solar storm to Earth is expected.

The development was reported by SpaceWeather.com which reported, “The black blob is a sunspot group--a big one. In fact, only a handful of sunspot groups in the past 5 years have created a helioseismic echo this large. Don't be surprised if SOHO coronagraphs record a farside CME in the days ahead”.

Will an extreme solar storm the Earth

There is no doubt that if this solar storm is fully capable of ejecting coronal mass ejections (CME) powerful enough to cause a G5-class solar storm on Earth that would start a series of disasters for us including damage to satellites, disruption and destruction of wireless technology like GPS, mobile networks and internet connectivity, electronic devices getting corrupt including pacemakers in heart, power grid failures and even forest fires.

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However, it is not likely that this sunspot will face the Earth anytime soon and it will likely explode while not in the direction of the Earth. However, it is difficult to predict just when a solar storm may explode and that's why the tech marvel NASA has deployed, named the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, is constantly monitoring this sunspot.

How is a sunspot on the farside of the Sun spotted?

It is a valid question given that we cannot really see what's on the farside of the Sun. However, technology developed by NASA and other space agencies dedicated towards observing the Sun is capable of using different signals to find out about it. The process is called helioseismology. Special instruments have been put in place to measure the Doppler-velocity (apparent change in the frequency of the light) continuously on the near-side of the Sun. Apart from that, 14 other factors around the Sun are also measured to build a crude image of the farside of the Sun.

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First Published Date: 24 Nov, 13:41 IST