Return of monster sunspot triggers powerful solar storm on Earth.

By Oliver Townsend Jun 2, 2024
Monster sunspot that triggered solar storm on Earth returns with a bang.jpegOrginal image from: https://www.theindianpanorama.news/science-technology/monster-sunspot-that-triggered-solar-storm-on-earth-returns-with-a-bang/

Monster sunspot AR3664, which was responsible for triggering a powerful solar storm on Earth in May, has made a dramatic return. This massive sunspot, larger than the planet itself, reappeared after disappearing from Earth’s view. Amateur astronomer Michael Karrer captured an image of the sunspot announcing its return with a massive solar flare. The explosion caused a deep shortwave radio blackout over East Asia and ejected a bright coronal mass ejection (CME) into space.

The Return of AR3664

In early May, Earth experienced a series of seven solar storms over the weekend, resulting in strong auroras in various parts of the world. Travelling at an astonishing speed of 48 lakh kilometers per hour, the coronal mass ejections hit Earth, leading to a spectacular display of auroras, including in India. The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a severe geomagnetic storm warning when the solar outburst reached Earth earlier than expected.

Impact on Earth and Space Agencies

The effects of the solar storm were so intense that the Northern Lights were visible in Britain and even in India. Space agencies like NASA, ISRO, and SpaceX had to take immediate action to protect their assets and astronauts in space. As the sunspot reemerges, experts anticipate more solar activity and explosions in the future.

Benefits and Challenges of Solar Activity

While solar storms can create stunning auroras and impact radio communications on Earth, they also pose risks to satellites and astronauts in space. Space agencies must constantly monitor solar activity to mitigate potential damages. Understanding the behavior of sunspots and solar flares is crucial for space exploration and satellite operations.

Future Preparations and Research

As scientists continue to study solar phenomena like sunspots and coronal mass ejections, advancements in space technology and forecasting methods are being developed. By improving our understanding of solar activity, we can better prepare for potential disruptions caused by solar storms and protect our technology in space.

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