Huge sunspot set to burst and fling solar flare ‘directly’ at Earth causing geomagnetic storm

SPACE weather experts are keeping a close eye on an “enormous sunspot” that’s doubled in size in the past 24 hours.

The unstable patch on the solar surface is directly facing Earth so if it bursts it could fling solar flares our way.


Sunspots are dark regions that pop up on the Sun due to magnetismCredit: Getty

A solar flare isn’t expected to hit yet but it could be possible if the sunspot continues to grow and behave in an unstable manner.

The experts at explained: “Yesterday, sunspot AR3038 was big.

“Today, it’s enormous. The fast-growing sunspot has doubled in size in only 24 hours.

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

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Sunspots are dark regions that pop up on the Sun due to magnetism inside the burning mass.

They can last between a few hours to a few months and are considered ‘dead’ when they start breaking apart.

Not all sunspots produce solar flares but when they do they can impact Earth.

There’s also a chance of sunspots producing solar flares that don’t hit Earth.

The Sun shoots a lot of flares directly into space.

The experts at mentioned an M-class flare in their analysis.

An M-class flare is considered medium strength and if one hits Earth it can cause brief radio blackouts around our planet’s poles and even some satellite communication issues.

They can also cause solar storms of varying strength.

Solar flares are bursts of radiation from the Sun that sometimes hit Earth.

Nasa explains: “A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots.”

Adding: “Flares are also sites where particles (electrons, protons, and heavy particles) are accelerated.”

Solar flares can last just minutes or shoot out streams of radiation for hours.

The good news is that Earth largely protects us from the damaging impact of solar flares by using its magnetic field.

They’re not threatening the health of humans on Earth but sometimes pose a threat to astronaut safety.

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One good thing about solar storms is that they can produce very pretty natural light displays like the Northern Lights.

Auroras are examples of the Earth’s magnetic field getting bombarded by the solar wind, which creates pretty green and blue displays.

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