A new sunspot four times the size of Earth worries scientists

NASA alarm

Scientists monitor solar activity through the appearance of spots on the surface of the Sun, indicating increased activity. Currently, a giant sunspot called AR3310 is aligned with the Earth. Sunspots are dark, cold regions on the photosphere of the Sun caused by complex interactions in the sun’s magnetic field. This spot, four times the size of the Earth, is visible to the naked eye, however, with precautions such as the use of eclipse gles or sunscreens to protect the eyes. Sunspots can cause solar flares, explosions that send energy and particles into space, with potential effects on Earth. The AR3310 fired a Level M flare last week, but there’s a 20 percent chance it could fire a Cl X flare (the highest on the scale), which could affect communications and technology systems. It is important to monitor solar activity during the solar cycle, which lasts about 11 years, and we are currently in solar cycle 25. Solar activity is expected to peak in 2025.


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