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Giant sunspot AR3190 sparks solar storm fears; Can cause blackouts, warns NASA

NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory has issued a warning of a possible solar storm in the coming days as sunspot AR3190 becomes unstable. It can even cause radio blackouts on Earth.

Even as Earth narrowly escaped a solar storm attack on Tuesday, new concerns about a giant sunspot have emerged. The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has observed sunspot AR3190, the huge sunspot that can be seen even with the naked eye, and it appears that this solar region is preparing for an explosion. If it explodes, it could create a dangerous solar storm on Earth with a chance of X-class solar flares aimed at Earth. This can result in shortwave radio outages and even disruption to GPS and other wireless communications in various regions of our planet.

This development was highlighted by NASA SDO, which is in charge of observing the sun and all solar activities that take place. It noted that the sunspot, which has been relatively stable until now, is suddenly starting to become unstable. SpaceWeather. com reported, “The sunspot’s primary dark core is actually a huge pole of negative (-) magnetism closely surrounded by multiple islands of positive (+) polarity. This is exactly how solar flares arise.” It should be noted that this difference in polarity causes an event known as magnetic reconnection which can cause massive explosions.

Solar flare scares Earth as giant sunspot explosion approaches

Fortunately, the sunspot is turning away from the Earth, so we will not experience a direct hit from this explosion. However, given the gigantic size of the sunspot, a broad nebula from an X-class solar flare will still hit our planet with massive amounts of X-rays and extreme UV radiation. Not only does this cause a shortwave radio blackout on every landmass it hits, there could be other consequences as well.

The radiation is said to interfere with GPS services and other wireless communication systems, including mobile networks. And if the solar flare is large enough, it will also send a large cloud of coronal mass ejection (CME) that could trigger further solar storms on Earth.

This threat will exist as long as the sunspot remains in Earth’s view, which could be the next 48 hours or more. For now, NASA SDO will continue to observe the sunspot.

How NASA SDO collects its data

The NASA SDO has a full suite of instruments to observe the sun and has been doing so since 2010. It uses three very crucial instruments to collect data from various solar activities. They include Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) which takes high-resolution measurements of the longitudinal and vector magnetic field across the entire visible solar disk, Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) which measures the Sun’s extreme ultraviolet radiation, and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) . which provides continuous full disk observations of the solar chromosphere and corona in seven extreme ultraviolet (EUV) channels.


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