“Colossal” sunspot could jeopardize power grids and satellite operations (Activistpost.com)

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According to a study by Study Finds

Earth is under the watchful eye of scientists as a colossal sunspot, roughly 15 times the size of our planet, threatens to cause widespread disruption. Known as sunspot AR3664, this immense spot extends an astonishing 124.000 miles. The impact of these geomagnetic storms is considerable, as they can disrupt the operation of satellites, communications, the power grid and even navigation systems.

Sunspots are darker, cooler areas on the surface of the sun, resulting from interactions with the magnetic field of the sun. These areas are often the source of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are sudden eruptions of magnetic fields and plasma from the solar corona.

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The image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft
shows the sunspot solar flare of Thursday, March 9. (Credit: NASA)
 

The risk of chaos comes from the sunspot's ability to emit powerful Class X solar flares, the most intense form of solar flares known for their ability to disrupt the Earth's geomagnetic field. According to Spaceweather.com, these eruptions direct large amounts of energy and radiation towards our planet.

The US Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is closely monitoring this activity. It began tracking a series of solar flares since last Wednesday, marking a renewed activity of the sun. The SWPC has officially issued a Severe Geomagnetic Storm Watch (G4) for the evening of Friday, May 10. This warning extends into the weekend as new solar flares are likely to continue to affect Earth.

“Space weather forecasters have issued a severe geomagnetic storm (G4) watch for the evening of Friday, May 10. Additional solar flares could cause geomagnetic storm conditions to persist through the weekend,” a declared the SWPC.

Since the start of the day on Wednesday, this group of sunspots has generated several moderate to strong solar flares. "At least five flares have been associated with CMEs that appear to be directed toward Earth. SWPC forecasters will monitor NOAA and NASA space assets for the appearance of a geomagnetic storm," the center added. .

In its latest statement, the SWPC highlighted the potential risks: "Geomagnetic storms can impact infrastructure in near-Earth orbit and on the Earth's surface, potentially disrupting communications, the power grid, navigation, radio and the operation of satellites.

Despite these disruptions, geomagnetic storms can also cause one of nature's most astonishing visual phenomena: aurorae. "A strong geomagnetic storm can cause the appearance of auroras to Alabama and Northern California,” says the SWPC.

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The image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft
shows the sunspot solar flare. (Credit: NASA)
 

The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) continues to observe these developments and its results are essential to improve our understanding of solar variability and prepare for its impacts. This mission highlights the complex dance between celestial phenomena and their effects on Earth, emphasizing the dynamic and interconnected nature of our solar system.

SWNS editor Dean Murray contributed to this report.

source: Study Finds

StudyFinds strives to find new research that speaks to the general public, without the scientific jargon. The articles we publish are summarized, digestible versions of research that aim to inform the reader and spark civil, educated debate.

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Top image: The image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft shows the solar flare from the sunspot to the lower right of the star on Thursday, May 9. SDO observes in different wavelengths to discover different details of activity.

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source: Activistpost.com

 


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