Terrifying! A Sunspot so big, you can see it with your NAKED eyes; 4x of Earth | Tech News

Terrifying! A Sunspot so big, you can see it with your NAKED eyes; 4x of Earth

The Earth-facing disk of the Sun has a gigantic sunspot, called AR3190, which is so big that it can be seen just with the unaided eyes! There is also a risk of a massive solar storm hitting Earth if it explodes.

| Updated on: Jan 18 2023, 13:27 IST
NASA: From Solar Winds, Solar Flares to CME, check how solar phenomena impact Earth
1/5 The harrowing thing is that it will not just be China that would be affected by such a devastating solar storm. (NASA)
2/5 Solar Flares: Solar flares are photon flares emitted from the Sun which travel from the flare site. They are rated on the basis of their intensity with the highest being an X-rated solar flare. It can cause power and radio blackouts and are responsible for the stunning phenomenon known to us as the Northern Lights or Auroras. (NASA/SDO)
3/5 Coronal Mass Ejections (CME): CMEs are massive plasma clouds carrying photons that are ejected from the Sun. CME occurs during the solar cycle and is at peak in the middle of the cycle. (NASA)
4/5 Solar Winds: Solar winds are high speed winds coming from holes in the Sun called Coronal holes. These holes can form anywhere on the surface of the Sun. If these solar winds prevail near the solar equator, they can cause impact on Earth, according to NASA. (Pixabay)
5/5 Solar Energetic Particles: Solar energetic particles are emitted from the Sun during Coronal Mass Ejections. These are charged particles; hence they follow the magnetic field lines between the Sun and the Earth and if they pass the magnetic fields near Earth, they have an impact. (NASA)
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Know all about AR3190, a sunspot so big that you can see it with your unaided eyes. (Representative Photo) (NASA)

Astronomy enthusiasts are in for a big treat today as there is a rare event occurring right above their heads. And the event does not even require them to grab a telescope or binoculars to see it. They don't even need to wait for the night or an area with low-light pollution. Right now, the Sun has a sunspot so big that it can be seen with just your naked eyes. Astronomers believe this is one of the biggest sunspots that has been spotted in years and it is as big as the size of four Earths. Further, there is a concern that if the sunspot explodes, it can result in an extremely strong solar storm hitting the Earth

Currently, there are many sunspots staring at the Earth. However, the sunspot AR3190 is not only as wide as four Earths put together, it is also double the size of any other sunspots visible currently. Anyone can see this sunspot just by looking up at the Sun. But, be warned, do not do it without wearing safe solar glasses as it can damage your eyes and even blind you permanently.

Massive sunspot appears on the Sun

Serious astronomy fans can grab their backyard telescopes to capture a detailed image of this sunspot or just take a look at the solar mass around it. Bum-Suk Yeom of Iksan, South Korea, confirmed this event and told SpaceWeather.com, “I tried it myself today, and I could see the sunspot clearly”.

But this is not just a cool astronomical phenomenon. The situation is quite grim because the sunspot can also explode at any time. SpaceWeather.com issued a warning and stated, “It's about to explode. AR3190 has an unstable 'beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for X-class solar flares. Any eruptions will be geoeffective because the sunspot is almost directly facing Earth”.

If a sunspot of this size explodes, it is going to have disastrous consequences. The resultant solar storm can damage satellites, destroy GPS, mobile networks, other forms of wireless communication and the internet. And not only that, it can also cause power grid failure and cause malfunction in critical electronic devices such as pacemakers and ventilators.

For now, various telescopes, including ones from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are watching the sunspot carefully. However, our only hope is that it doesn't explode while it faces the Earth.

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First Published Date: 18 Jan, 13:19 IST