A new sunspot has two dark cores wider than the Earth

Luckily its solar flares are not too powerful avoiding damage to spacecraft.
Loukia Papadopoulos
An illustration of the Sun.jpg
An illustration of the Sun

Thomas Faull/iStock 

Spaceweather.com has reported a new sunspot and it is a mighty one. It was reportedly spotted by one of NASA’s observatory tools.

“A new sunspot (AR3153) is rotating over the Sun's southeastern limb, and it is a big one. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is seeing at least two dark cores significantly wider than Earth,” noted spaceweather.com.

The outlet noted that for the time being the sunspot’s solar flares were not dangerous, a danger sometimes associated with sunspots.

Little threat for explosive solar flares

“So far the sunspot's magnetic field appears to be cleanly separated into + and - polarities--no mixing. This means it poses little threat for explosive solar flares. However, this could change. The sunspot is rapidly growing, doubling in size since yesterday, so its magnetic architecture may soon be quite different. Stay tuned!”

Solar flares are caused when areas of the Sun develop strong magnetic fields that temporarily halt the process of convection on the Sun. As such, they send out intense bursts of electromagnetic radiation from the Sun that can mess with spacecraft that provide communication and navigational services. These craft can even face critical damage.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) classifies solar flares into five categories that convey the amount of radiation released. Classes A, B, and C are flares of relatively low intensity that cause no influence over Earth.

A new sunspot has two dark cores wider than the Earth

However, M and X class flares are more powerful and X class flares are even 10 times more powerful than the M class solar flares.

Each class is further divided into the logarithmic scale of 1 through 9, except X class, which continues further. X class flares are mostly rare and the instrumentation developed so far can only accurately measure solar flares up to the intensity of X16.

According to EarthSky.org, AR3153 is reported thus far to have only produced eight C class flares and two B class flares. Furthermore, the forecast is for a 60 percent chance for C flares, a 15 percent chance for M flares, and only a 5 percent chance for X flares. In addition, no coronal mass ejections (CMEs) are expected to come from this sunspot and chances of geomagnetic storms are extremely low until at least December 3, 2022.

Past sunspots

This is great news especially compared to other sunspots that have been reported in the past. Just this September, a massive sunspot with the potential to send out powerful solar flares was pointed straight at Earth.

Sunspot AR3089 had been developing for some time resulting in a delta-class magnetic field with the potential to let out an X-class solar flare anytime. Worst of all, the sunspot was pointed directly toward the Earth, meaning our planet would have received the full blast of magnetic radiation. 

Luckily, none of that happened leaving our communication and navigational spacecraft safe and sound.

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