Earth will be 2.5 times the size of our planet in a few days; However, scientists say the formation of the sunspot shouldn’t worry people.
When a sunspot lands directly on Earth, it can cause solar flares, but experts say that it is not uncommon for the sunspot to land directly on Earth.
According to Phys.org, Rob Steinberg, director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Space Weather Forecasting, the “Active Zone 3038,” or AR3038, has grown in size over the past week. “These spots grow over time, progress through different stages, and then disappear.”
NASA explains that sunspots appear darker because they have a lower temperature than other parts of the sun. Sunspots form where strong magnetic fields prevent heat from the sun from reaching the surface of the star. This is why it is cooler. “The simplest way to explain it is that sunspots are areas of magnetic activity,” says Rob Steinberg.
The NASA describes solar flares as sudden bursts of energy caused by entanglement, intersection, or rearrangement of magnetic field lines near sunspots. “You can think of it as a rubber band,” Steinberg says. The clamps will eventually tear if you wrap them around your finger too much. “The only difference is that the magnetic fields are reconnected, and when this happens, a solar flare appears.”
Steinberg believes that the larger and more complex the sunspot, the more likely it is that a solar flare will occur.
Geomagnetic storms can also be caused by sunspots. These storms cause the Earth’s magnetic field to be compressed by waves of very energetic particles, and the molecules in the atmosphere release the energy in the form of light. The sky will be filled with colorful aurorae as a result. These energetic particles can severely disrupt the Earth’s magnetic field and cause satellites to crash. Scientists say severe geomagnetic storms could also paralyze the Internet.
William Dean Pencell, a scientist at the Solar Dynamics Observatory, says the sunspot in question is a “medium-sized active region” whose rate of growth is not considered abnormal and is still relatively small. The AR3038 is the kind of active region we expect to see during this part of the solar cycle, says Pensel.
According to Anders Munoz Jaramillo, a senior fellow at the Southwestern Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, people on Earth shouldn’t be worried about the AR3038 sunspot. “There is no need for panic,” he said. These sunspots always appear. We anticipate and mitigate their effects as best we can. Many of us should not be sleep deprived because of them.”
Solar flares that originate in Jaramillo have different levels, according to Andres Munoz. The smallest solar flares are Class A flares, followed by Class B, C, M, and X flares, which are the most powerful. For each class, another scale is used based on numbers, and the higher the number, the more intense the solar flare.
According to Steinberg, solar flares are less common and Class X flares are fewer. In an 11-year solar cycle, approximately 2,000 M1, 175 X1, and 8 X10 flares typically occur. On the other hand, X20 flares and stronger flares occur less than once per solar cycle. The current solar cycle began in December 2019 (December 1398).
Steinberg says the AR3038 sunspot has caused Class C solar flares. No M or Class X flares have been observed, but Steinberg says we may see stronger solar flares this week and beyond.