After a ‘dead solar spot’ exploded on the surface of the sun, a mass of solar particles is headed our way.
The explosion of April 11th led to a coronal masses ejection (CME), an event that can trigger solar storms.
Although it may sound intense, a dead sunspot eruption is unlikely to have any significant impact on Earth.
Sunspots can be darkened regions that appear on the Sun because of magnetism within the burning mass.
They can survive for several hours to a few weeks and then they become ‘dead.’
AR2987, a sunspot that was once known as the “dead” sunspot, exploded in recent times. It was then randomly restarted.
Philip Judge, a physicist explained it to LiveScience: “Occasionally, sunspots can ‘restart,’ with more magnetism appearing later (days, weeks) at the same region, as if a weakness was made in the convection zone, or as if there is an unstable region under the surface that is particularly good at generating magnetic fields beneath.”
Earth could be affected by the sunspot explosion of April 11, which could happen in just a few days.
According to experts at SpaceWeather.com: “A CME is headed for Earth.
“NOAA forecasters say that G2-class geomagnetic storms are possible when it arrives on April 14th.
“During such storms, auroras can seen as far south as, e.g., New York and Idaho (geomagnetic latitude 55 degrees).”
A CME is a huge expulsion of plasma from the sun’s outer layer, called the corona.
These expulsions shoot through space and can hit Earth.
Fortunately, the solar storm predicted for April 14, is only likely to be a “G2-class” storm.
This storm is moderate in size and can cause damage to high-latitude power systems.
A G2-class solar hurricane can cause power grid disruptions and affect any orbiting spacecraft.
Spacecraft may need to be kept out of harm’s way by ground control.
Solar storms can also confuse migrating animals that rely on the Earth’s magnetic field for a sense of direction.
Solar storms can produce beautiful natural light displays, such as the northern lights.
Those natural light displays are called auroras and are examples of the Earth’s magnetosphere getting bombarded by solar wind, which creates the pretty green and blue displays.
The Earth’s magnetic field helps to protect us from the more extreme consequences of solar flares.
A strong solar eruption in 1989 hurled so many charged particles at Earth, that Quebec, Canada lost power for nine hours.
They can cause problems for tech on Earth and astronauts, as well as being dangerous for their safety.
The sun is currently in the beginning of an 11-year solar cycle. This cycle usually sees flares and eruptions get more intense and extreme.
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