An M-class solar flare could soon head for Earth

“Behold the Sun” has never sounded so ominous.

Scientists issued a dire warning on Sunday after a huge sunspot named AR3038 doubled in size and is now pointing towards Earth – meaning a large solar flare could potentially hit the planet, Newsweek reported for the first time. time.

Otherworldly images released by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory revealed how the huge sunspot was changing at a rapid pace, according to Science Times.

“Sunspot AR3038 was big yesterday,” scientists told SpaceWeather.com. “Today is huge. The fast-growing sunspot doubled in size in just 24 hours.

They added: “AR3038 has an unstable ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares, and it faces Earth directly.”

Accompanying images from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory show the sunspot has evolved over the past day, twisting and contorting like the Eye of Sauron from ‘Lord of the Rings’, reported the Tech Explorist.

Sunspots are dark areas on the surface of the sun that can produce huge waves of radiation. They form over regions with strong magnetic fields, which can sometimes trigger a solar flare.

And while the Earth-facing sunspot has yet to produce such a firestorm, it could still potentially trigger an M-class solar flare – the second most powerful type.

Fortunately, despite the “Armageddon” phenomenon, this relatively common eruption would cause no physical damage and would likely result in a 10-minute radio blackout at worst.

“The explosive heat from a solar flare cannot travel all the way to our globe, but electromagnetic radiation and energetic particles certainly can,” NASA reported. “Solar flares can temporarily alter the upper atmosphere, creating disruptions in a GPS satellite’s signal transmission to Earth, sending it several meters away.”

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center is currently monitoring the sunspot for a possible solar flare, but has not yet issued a warning.

Sunspots are dark areas on the surface of the sun that can produce huge waves of radiation. They form over regions with strong magnetic fields, which can sometimes trigger a solar flare.
Spaceweather.com

Far more harmful are the more powerful Class X flares, which can “create long-lasting radiation storms that can damage satellites, communications systems, and even ground-based technology and power grids,” according to NASA. .

Last month, NASA captured an X-class solar flare that burst from the sun and sent energy through the galaxy, resulting in spectacular images of invisible light.

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