NASA researchers are keeping a careful eye on the enormous sunspot AR3038, which has doubled in size during the past 24 hours.
The dangerous region of the rapidly expanding sunspot immediately confronts Earth and, should it erupt, might unleash solar flares in our direction.
These flares could harm radio communication networks and navigational equipment. Notably, there haven’t been any recent solar flare warnings.
*Sunspots are a frequent occurrence on the Sun. The scientists are concerned, though, because of how quickly the AR3038 has grown.
There is a risk that radio communication networks could be down for tens of minutes if it does release flares that would reach Earth; this is cause for concern on a global scale.
However, such occurrences are unavoidable and beyond human control.
How do sunspots form?
Sunspots are portions of the Sun’s surface that are darker and colder than the surrounding surroundings. They release strong radiation blasts.
Sunspots form over regions with extraordinarily strong magnetic fields, which makes them very cold.
In fact, the magnetic fields are so powerful that they even keep heat from reaching the sunspot’s surface, giving it a dark appearance.
Radio blackouts could be caused by medium-intensity solar flares
Researchers claim that the beta-gamma magnetic field of the Earth-facing AR3038 is unstable and stores energy for M-class (medium intensity) solar flares.
Around the Earth’s two poles, the strongest flare (M9) could cause satellite communication problems and brief radio blackouts.
Infrastructure could be harmed by flares if they are powerful enough, and repairs could take weeks or even months.
Solar flare radiation may reach Earth
Solar flares from the AR3038 won’t make it to Earth, but their radiation may. People shouldn’t worry, though. They are less dangerous than coronal mass ejections (CME), which can interfere with geomagnetism.