Sun birthing sunspots at furious pace! Cycle nearing explosive level | Tech News

Sun birthing sunspots at furious pace! Cycle nearing explosive level

The Sun is birthing sunspots at a drastically high rate in June and this level hasn’t been reached since 2002.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Jul 06 2023, 22:03 IST
NASA captures Sun emitting solar flare on April 20,2022.
This significant rise in sunspots has taken it to a 20-year high! (SDO/NASA)

As the Sun is approaching the solar maximum, scientists are making new discoveries every day about it including its rising temperatures and its impact on the solar weather. We are well into the solar cycle 25 and the conditions are much worse than they were expected. Yes, the Sun's volatility has increased exponentially and what is going to happen next is looking quite unpredictable.

Recently scientists have found that the sunspots are being birthed at a very high rate and it has actually reached its highest since September, 2002 when the count was 187. The count for June has reached 163.4 sunspots as per science.com. It is also speculated that the count will reach 200.

"Highest monthly average sunspot number since September 2002!" solar physicist Keith Strong shared on Twitter on Sunday. "The June 2023 [sunspot number] was 163.4, the highest value for over 20 years."

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But what are sunspots and how do they rise up?

According to NASA, sunspots are dark areas on the surface of the Sun. They are dark because they are much cooler in temperature than other parts of the Sun's surface. These dark areas are caused due to the sun's magnetic field which changes due to the progress in the solar cycle.

Due to the solar maximum, these sunspots are rising drastically in number and the sun's activity is more violent. This in turn creates frequent solar flares, which disrupts solar weather. The chain goes on as, when the solar flares hit the Earth's atmosphere, it generates geomagnetic storms, which, if powerful enough, can destroy satellites, internet and power grids.

Solar cycle progression

As per the Live Science report. according to the sunspot count for June, the upcoming solar maximum will be even more active than the last one. Notably, the highest sunspot count that was recorded was in the year 2000. The number was a whopping 244 and it happened during the solar maximum!

Now, June 2023 marks the highest sunspot count in solar cycle 25. On July 2, this massive dark patch emitted an X-class solar flare (the sun's strongest form), which smashed onto Earth and triggered radio blackouts in the western United States and the eastern Pacific Ocean, according to Spaceweather.com. This is just another indication that the solar maximum is rapidly approaching with massive force.

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First Published Date: 06 Jul, 22:03 IST
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