HUGE Sunspot facing Earth! Set to trigger solar storms, Auroras
A massive sunspot on the face of our Sun is facing the Earth and it could pose a big solar storm threat. Although solar storms do not cause any harm directly to people on Earth, they can knockout electricity grids, GPS and even the Internet for months. However, the severity of impact depends on how strong the solar storm is.
Earlier this week, NASA had reported 8 new sunspots emerging on the Earth-facing side of the Sun which could cause a major impact on our planet. They have been named in the solar active region 3030, 3031, 3032, 3033, 3034, 3035, 3037 and 3038. Now, it has been reported that one of the sunspots has doubled in 24 hours and has become three times the size of Earth.
According to Tony Phillips, the author of SpaceWeather.com, ‘Yesterday, sunspot AR3038 was big. Today, it's enormous,”
"The fast-growing sunspot has doubled in size in only 24 hours," Phillips added.
This sunspot has the potential to emit M-class solar flares towards Earth which can cause physical damage. It may cause blackouts, GPS problems. The least impact on Earth will be the generation of auroras on the poles.
When a solar storm hits the Earth's magnetic field, the resultant geomagnetic storm can kill radio communications and affect the power grid. It can cause power and radio blackouts for several hours or even days. However, electricity grid problems occur only if the solar flare is extremely large.
On the other hand, solar storms cause an extremely beautiful night-sky phenomenon known as Auroras or Northern Lights, which attract astronomers, sky watchers as well as others with stunning streaks of colour across the night sky.
What is a Sunspot?
According to NASA, Sunspots are dark areas on the solar surface which contain strong magnetic fields that are constantly shifting and can form and dissipate over periods of days or weeks. They occur when strong magnetic fields emerge through the solar surface and allow the area to cool slightly.