Giant sunspot is now three times the size of Earth and pointing toward our planet


The fast-growing sunspot doubled in size in 24 hours and can produce medium-class flares.

Photo: NASA/SDO/ZUMA PRESS WIRE/PICTURE ALLIANCE / Deutsche Welle

A sunspot nearly three times the size of Earth is within our planet’s crosshairs and may spew out mid-class flares in the near future.

“Yesterday, sunspot AR3038 was big. It’s huge today,” Tony Phillips, quoted by Space.com, wrote on Spaceweather.com on Wednesday (June 22).

“The fast-growing sunspot has doubled in size in just 24 hours,” Phillips added, noting that the surrounding magnetic field has the potential to launch M-class solar flares toward our planet.

CME: coronal mass ejection

If the sunspot launches a coronal mass ejection, or CME, of charged particles that stare at our planet, it’s possible those particles will interact with our magnetic field and create colored lights in our atmosphere, known as auroras.

The sun has been particularly active this spring, sending out many M-class and X-class (the strongest class) flares as activity grows in the regular 11-year sunspot cycle.

CMEs are generally harmless and may cause brief radio blackouts along with colorful auroras. However, on rare occasions, CMEs can disrupt essential infrastructure such as satellites or power lines.

This is why both NASA and NOAA monitor the sun all the time. Additionally, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission is flying very close to the sun periodically to learn more about the origins of sunspots and better understand the space weather the sun creates.

Source-laopinion.com