Sunspot could hurl out M-class solar flares, reveals NASA | Tech News

Sunspot could hurl out M-class solar flares, reveals NASA

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has revealed that strong M-class solar flares could be hurled out by a sunspot. Know all about it.

| Updated on: Oct 16 2023, 09:14 IST
Geomagnetic storm to hit Earth? NASA reveals how volatile Sun is brewing up a solar storm
solar flare
1/5 A recent solar flare erupted on the Sun, resulting in radio blackouts affecting the region of Australia and New Zealand and triggering concerns about the possibility of a geomagnetic storm. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of this significant solar event. (Pixabay)
solar flare
2/5 Despite several recent solar flare occurrences over the past ten days, only one had previously led to a coronal mass ejection (CME) reaching Earth. However, the latest eruption, originating from the sunspot region AR3452  was detected by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. It has raised the potential for another geomagnetic storm event.  (SDO/NASA)
solar flare
3/5 The official Space Weather Live X account reported the event at 8 AM on October 10, describing it as a "Moderate M1.61 flare from sunspot region 3452,". NASA shared a video of the eruption. It took place on the eastern limb of the Sun and that may mean it will miss hitting the Earth. (Pixabay)
solar flare
4/5 A separate announcement made just minutes earlier than that alerted to a "Minor R1 radio blackout in progress" over Australia and New Zealand, attributed to extreme ultraviolet radiation emitted by the solar flare. This shortwave radio blackout could have disrupted communications for various groups, including drone pilots, mariners, aviators, and emergency responders. There remains uncertainty regarding whether Earth will experience a geomagnetic storm resulting from this incident. (
solar flare
5/5 Fortunately, the solar eruption occurred on the edge of the Sun's eastern limb, potentially reducing the impact on Earth. However, confirmation of the outcome awaits confirmation from geomagnetic storm forecast models. Despite the intensity of the solar flare, it is assumed that even if a geomagnetic storm does occur, it is likely to be a minor event.  (Pixabay)
solar flare
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NASA SDO reported the risk of an M-class solar flare being hurled towards Earth. (Pixabay)

Like asteroids, solar flares also pose a threat to Earth. Strong solar flares can cause power and radio blackouts for several hours or even days, spark auroras, give people in airplanes a dose of radiation and can even influence elections! Technological instruments are especially at a risk during flares. This is because when cosmic rays strike Earth, they release various particles like energetic neutrons, muons, pions and alpha particles. Although these particles do not affect the human body, they can pass-through integrated circuits and cause damage, often changing the data stored in the memory. With the solar maximum approaching in the next few years, the Sun's activity is expected to rise, and it could result in more solar flares.

NASA, with the help of its Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), has reported that a dangerous M-class solar flare could make its way to Earth.

Dangerous sunspot

According to a report by, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), forecasts that a region on the Sun's surface, termed Sunspot AR3460, has a “'beta-gamma” magnetic field that could trigger solar flares. There is a chance for M-class solar flares to be hurled out and hit Earth soon.

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It states, “Sunspot AR3460 has a 'beta-gamma' magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares.” This sunspot has been in observation for the past week over a risk of increased solar activity. On October 11, Spaceweather reported that the sunspot had many magnetic poles with positive and negative in close proximity. At that time, the sunspot had a strong delta charge.

“This could lead to magnetic reconnection and a strong, Earth-directed solar flare”, the report further stated.

About NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory

The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) uses three very crucial instruments to collect data from various solar activities. They include the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) which takes high-resolution measurements of the longitudinal and vector magnetic field over the entire visible solar disk, Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) which measures the Sun's extreme ultraviolet irradiance, and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) which provides continuous full-disk observations of the solar chromosphere and corona in seven extreme ultraviolet (EUV) channels.

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First Published Date: 16 Oct, 09:14 IST