Sunspot unleashes M-Class Solar Flares; Big crack found in Earth's magnetic field | Tech News

Sunspot unleashes M-Class Solar Flares; Big crack found in Earth's magnetic field

A new Sunspot has popped up on the solar surface which is hurling out dangerous M-Class solar flares.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Mar 06 2023, 09:40 IST
Solar flare risk rises! Earth may get blackouts, GPS problems and Auroras
NASA solar flare
1/6 According to Dr. Tamitha Skov, a Space Weather physicist and popularly known as 'Space weather woman', the presence of sunspots increases the possibility of solar falers as it increases solar activity. (NASA)
NASA solar flare
2/6 She stated in a post that, “Our Sun continues to impress with no less than eight active regions in Earth-view. Several of these are M-flare players and NOAA/SWPC is even giving us a small chance for X-class flares.” (SDO/NASA)
NASA solar flare
3/6 Solar Flares are ranked by alphabets depending on their intensity with ‘A’ being the smallest in intensity and ‘X’ being the most dangerous flare.  (Pixabay)
NASA solar flare
4/6 Solar Flares can cause power blackouts, GPS crashes, radio blackouts and more. When a solar flare hits the Earth, the radio communications and the power grid is affected when it hits the Earth’s magnetic field. It can cause power and radio blackouts for several hours or even days. However, electricity grid problems occur only if the solar flare is extremely large. (NASA/SDO)
NASA solar flare
5/6 The eight sunspots that have come into the Earth’s view have been named as solar region 3030, 3031, 3032, 3033, 3034, 3035, 3037 and 3038, with region 3030 and 3032 witnessing major solar activity last week. As a result, many M-rated solar flares have been predicted to occur this week, with even a small chance of an X-rated solar flare to erupt. (Pixabay)
NASA solar flare
6/6 X-rated solar flares are almost 10 times more dangerous than M-rated solar flares. On the bright side, the solar flares always bring a beautiful night-sky phenomenon known as Auroras or Northern Lights, which are stunning to witness. They light up the sky with colourful displays and are easily visible through the naked eye. (REUTERS)
NASA solar flare
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The Sunspot AR3242 has been observed slowly turning towards Earth. (SDO/NASA)

The Sun has become quite violent due to its Solar Cycle 29. Therefore, Earth is in for a rough ride until then. Just days after volatile solar activity caused radio blackouts over North and South America due to an unstable Sunspot, NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has observed another new Sunspot which is hurling out dangerous M-Class Solar Flares, as reported by spaceweather.com.

According to the report, a new Sunspot on the solar surface has been observed. The Sunspot, called AR3242 is hurling out dangerous M-Class Solar Flares. M-class flares are medium-sized flares, but they can cause brief radio blackouts.

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The new Sunspot was observed by David Leong in Singapore who pointed the telescope at the solar surface and saw an explosion. Leong told spaceweather.com, “AR3242 was already flaring when I started shooting at 5:11 UT. The unusually dark filaments kept changing shape minute by minute on my computer screen. It was an hour of wonder and excitement.”

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This is particularly dangerous as Sunspot AR3242 is slowly turning and facing Earth.

Crack in Earth's Magnetic Field

Although most solar activity erupting from the Sun is shielded by Earth's magnetic field, scientists have observed a crack in that field which could allow dangerous solar winds to pass through. This crack is likely due to a vernal equinox effect called the Russell-McPherron effect, which is less than two weeks away.

During the Vernal Equinox, the Sun is directly above the equator, causing the day and night to be of the same duration. As a side effect, there is semiannual variation in the effective southward component of the interplanetary field. Cracks form in the Earth's magnetic field which could allow even weak solar winds to seep through.

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First Published Date: 06 Mar, 09:22 IST
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