New sunspot tripled in size in 24 hours! Dangerous solar storm heading for Earth?

    A new sunspot, AR3068, has been spotted by scientists. Worryingly, this sunspot has tripled in size since yesterday, July 29. Will this spell a disaster for Earth with a G5 class solar storm? Find out.
    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Jul 30 2022, 09:17 IST
    Just check out this STUNNING Solar Tornado
    solar tornado
    1/5 The solar tornado which emerged was huge in size and reached as high as 20000 km above the Sun. The video shows the solar tornado rising from the surface of the Sun. (Apollo Lasky)
    Solar tornado
    2/5 The stunning video was captured by astrophotographer Apollo Laski of Naperville, Illinois, USA on June 21. Lasky used a backyard solar telescope to capture this stunning solar flare event. (Pixabay)
    Coronal Mass Ejection or CME
    3/5 According to Spaceweather.com, the plasma ejection from the surface of the Sun is part of a 'solar storm system'. This was such a huge solar tornado that if Earth was nearer to it, then it would have been destroyed in a moment. (Pixabay)
    image caption
    4/5 According to NASA, Solar tornadoes are basically due to the spiral-shaped magnetic structures that rise from the surface of the Sun and are rooted to the Sun’s surface at both ends which makes it swirl like a tornado. When a series of plasma shorts inside this structure, it moves along with the structure's helical magnetic field. This is what causes the plasma to rotate and form a 'twister'- a tornado. (NASA)
    Sunspot
    5/5 A couple of days ago, a giant sunspot AR3038 was found on the surface of the Sun which has doubled in size, increasing the concern of scientists. It is being closely monitored since it is directly facing the Earth. (NASA)
    Solar flare
    View all Images
    A new sunspot has concerned the scientists after it tripled in size in just 24 hours. Find out the risk of a big solar storm strike on Earth. (SDO/NASA)

    After a week of very low solar activity, the Sun seems to be springing back in action. In the last seven days, six sunspots appeared on the Earth-facing solar disk. While normally, it would have been a cause of concern, these sunspots were reported to be relatively stable with quiet magnetic fields. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the USA predicted that there was no real chance of solar flares this week and it came out to be true when the sunspots decayed naturally, leaving a spotless solar disk. However, things are about to change. A new sunspot has emerged on the Earth facing side of the Sun and it seems to be very unstable. In just 24 hours since yesterday, the sunspot AR3068 has tripled in size and now threatens the Earth with the possibility of a huge solar storm.

    This was first reported by SpaceWeather.com which noted on its website, “New sunspot AR3068 near the sun's southeastern limb is still small, but it is growing rapidly, tripling in size since yesterday. It merits watching as a possible source of near-future activity”. SpaceWeather has also shared an image of the sunspot that you can check here.

    Solar storm scare after a sunspot triples in size in 24 hours

    A few weeks ago, when a similar sunspot grew twice its size, a G3 class solar storm struck the Earth causing GPS disruptions, shortwave radio blackouts and affecting the communication systems for ships and airplanes. Fast moving solar winds from the flare that went off on Sun even created a temporary co-rotating interaction region (CIR) in Earth's magnetosphere, opening a crack and letting in more solar radiation than normal and increasing the intensity of the solar storm.

    While it is too early to say whether a similar or even more intense solar storm can strike the Earth, the risk does pertain and that is why scientists are monitoring this particularly unstable sunspot. If it does end up blasting a G5 solar storm like the Carrington event, it can not only damage satellites, affect the internet and mobile network, but it can also mess up electronic gadgets and cause power grid failures. Worse still, it can also cause forest fires due to its highly charged radiation.

    Follow HT Tech for the latest tech news and reviews , also keep up with us on Twitter, Facebook, Google News, and Instagram. For our latest videos, subscribe to our YouTube channel.

    First Published Date: 30 Jul, 09:17 IST
    NEXT ARTICLE BEGINS
    keep up with tech