SPOTTED Sun could be the harbinger of extremely dangerous solar storm on Earth | Tech News

SPOTTED Sun could be the harbinger of extremely dangerous solar storm on Earth

Some photographers have reported witnessing a spotted Sun during sunrise and sunset. This could be a scary sign for the Earth and an indication of an extreme solar storm.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Mar 22 2023, 12:13 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
Sunspot
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)
Sunspot
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)
Sunspot
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Know why the spotted Sun is being considered a warning sign of a terrifying solar storm. (Representative Photo) (NASA)

Ever since the start of the year 2023, the Earth has been continuously bombarded by solar storms. So far, not a single week has gone without one incident of solar particles hitting our atmosphere. We have seen multiple X-class solar flare eruptions, G3-class solar storms and super-charged CME clouds and solar winds wreaking havoc on our planet. And still, the worst is yet to come. That is what astronomers believe after many have detected a spotted Sun during sunrise in regions of higher altitudes. Why has the Sun turned spotted and why is it a sign of a terrifying solar storm approaching? Find out.

As per a report by SpaceWeather.com, it was revealed some astrophotographers, who have taken photos of the morning Sun, have seen a spotted pattern on it. The spots were later revealed to be two sunspots — AR3256 and AR3257. Now, sunspots are not unusual and the Sun often carries as many as 8-10 sunspots on its Earth-facing side. What is unusual is that these sunspots have grown large enough to be spotted without the need of a telescope.

The report stated, “Over the past two months, sunspot numbers have shot up to their highest values in nearly 10 years--a sign of the intensification of Solar Cycle 25. We're nowhere near the apex of the sunspot curve, however. Solar Max isn't expected until 2024 or 2025. This means sunrises (and sunsets) will become even more spotted in the years ahead”. And this is a troubling prediction.

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Extreme solar storms can be frequent in near future

To put it simply, the larger a sunspot is, the more solar matter it can release into space once it explodes. And higher the amount of solar particles (also known as coronal mass ejections or CME) that interact with the upper atmosphere of the Earth, the more intense a solar storm will be. That means if the Sun gets infested with gigantic sunspots, it can very well blast us with the most terrifying G5-class solar storm.

G5-class solar storms are the most powerful geomagnetic events observed. These are so intense that they can burn down small satellites in the lower Earth orbit and damage sensitive instruments of the one's in the higher orbits. Not only that, but they can effectively block out all wireless communication including GPS, mobile networks, satellite communication and more. Even the ground-based infrastructure is not safe. These solar storms can damage the repeaters in under-sea internet cables and block internet connectivity. Power grids will also suffer fluctuations and can even suffer irreparable damage. Finally, some electronics which run on direct electricity or battery can also get damaged due to high voltage flux in the atmosphere. In short, the Earth could be sent to the dark ages in an instant.

However, just the presence of sunspots does not confirm the incoming of such solar storms. Some of these are harmless and never explode. But even a few going off could cause one of the worst solar storm events seen since 1859's Carrington event.

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First Published Date: 22 Mar, 12:12 IST
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