In exciting news, scientists have discovered a massive sunspot currently facing planet Earth that has grown in size in recent days. Astronomers said the sunspot, named active region 3038, or AR3038, is now three times the size of Earth and could send solar flares.
Despite this, the Space Weather Prediction Center, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has so far issued no warnings about possible flare-ups.
What are sunspots?
NASA describes sunspots as those areas on the Sun’s surface that begin in areas with extremely strong magnetic fields. Sunspots have a darker appearance because they are relatively cooler than other parts of the Sun’s surface. In particular, the temperature around a sunspot is 3,593°C.
It is the area around sunspots that causes solar flares to emerge. Solar flares can be described as sudden bursts of energy that radiate much of the radiation out into space. Solar flares are considered dangerous because they have the potential to disrupt our communication systems and cause blackouts.
All you need to know about Active Region 3038 or AR3038 sunspots
So far no expert has issued a warning about possible damage to the planet, however, according to SpaceWeather.com author Tony Phillips, sunspot AR3038 has doubled in size in the past 24 hours, which caused a lot of panic.
However, W Dean Pesnell, project scientist at the Solar Dynamics Observatory, said panic is not necessary because “it happens all the time”.
It is important to note that different sunspot sizes release different intensities of solar flares. This is represented by different alphabets. Class A flares are believed to be of the weakest intensity, and the strength of solar flares increases as we move towards B, C and X.