Sun BLAST hits Earth! Solar storm, blackouts and unstable sunspot; Check what’s happening | Tech News

Sun BLAST hits Earth! Solar storm, blackouts and unstable sunspot; Check what’s happening

The Sun has virtually gone berserk in the last 24 hours spewing out humongous amounts of energy. The Earth has suffered a solar storm, a separate radio blackout event in the Pacific region and there is an unstable sunspot which has doubled in size.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Feb 08 2023, 13:38 IST
Think you know our Sun? Check out THESE 5 stunning facts
Solar Flare
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 Flare
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 Flare
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A solar storm and a solar flare eruption hit the Earth yesterday, February 7. Know all about it. (NASA SDO)

It appears that the brief break period from solar disturbances for our planet is over. The Earth has just undergone a terrifying 24 hours where it experienced a solar storm, a separate event of solar flare eruption and there is an unstable sunspot which has doubled in this period. While the solar storm was a minor one and did not do much damage, the solar flare eruption resulted in radio blackouts in the pacific region that impacted some parts of Australia, New Zealand and South America. The threats of further solar storm attacks are also on the rise with the growing sunspot.

The incidents were reported by SpaceWeather.com. On the solar flare, it noted, “Two days ago, sunspot AR3213 didn't even exist. Now it stretches almost 100,000 km across the surface of the sun with at least two dark cores larger than Earth. The fast-growing spot is crackling with solar flares. The strongest so far, an M6-class flare on Feb 7th (2307 UTC), caused a shortwave radio blackout over the Pacific Ocean”. Separately, a G1-class solar storm event also occurred yesterday unrelated to this. The doubling sunspot is the same one which caused the M-class solar flare and it is expected that more such flares might be coming in the next few days.

Earth suffers solar storms and radio blackouts

The solar storm was caused by fast-moving solar winds which did not amount to much. It was a minor G1-class solar storm and resulted in just brief aurora displays in the northern hemisphere. However, the solar flare eruption within the AR3213 had concerning consequences for our planet. The M6-class flare was strong enough to block low-frequency communication waves in the pacific region and caused a radio blackout. This in particular affected mariners and ham radio operators who use frequencies below 30 MHz for at least an hour after the flare.

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However, this does not seem like the end to our problems as the sunspot is likely to stay geoeffective for the next few days. Additionally, another sunspot is emerging over the sun's southeastern limb. This is the same sunspot that caused a far side explosion recently. The combination of both of these sunspots existing together could spell a disaster for us.

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First Published Date: 08 Feb, 13:35 IST
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