Sunspot three times the size of the Earth formed

In just one day, the AR3038 spot on the surface of the Sun has doubled. Now it is three times the size of the Earth and is turned in its direction. So far, scientists are talking about the danger of medium-strength outbreaks.

Spots on the Sun on June 22. Source: Courtesy of NASA/SD

Sunspot increased in size

Experts monitoring the activity of the Sun reported that the AR3038 spot doubled from June 21 to 22. Now it is three times the size of our planet and it is turned towards the Earth. If there is an outbreak on it, then all the substance thrown out by it will fly in our direction.

However, the Space Weather Warning Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does not warn that the magnetic fields around this spot are extremely tense. So far, there is a danger of flashes of only medium strength.

The M-class flashes, even if they are aimed directly at the Earth, we most likely will not feel. Maximum — auroras will be observed in the polar regions. But if AR3038 continues to grow, it could lead to coronal mass ejections and cause big communication problems and could disable satellites.

A long-term solar flare, taken on June 13. Source: NASA/SDO

Active solar cycle

In fact, we do not know for sure that the danger of powerful solar flares correlates with the size of the spot that gave rise to them. Scientists have seen relatively small areas of the dark surface, on which Class X and giant flashes were born, where no really powerful explosion occurred. Now the mechanism of the relationship of these phenomena is being studied by the Parker solar probe.

In other conditions, the AR3038 would not have been noticed at all. But this spring, scientists finally realized that this solar cycle will be more active than expected. And several outbreaks of M and X classes, which in March gave birth to only one spot confirms this conclusion.

Then the spot was on the opposite side of the Sun from us and everything that then flew out of it almost didn’t touch us. If AR3038 repeats the same thing, it will affect us. Most of all, scientists are concerned about the possibility of a truly catastrophic outbreak, similar to the one which traces were recently found in the Antarctic ice. We are not fully aware of the scale of this phenomenon yet.

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