A huge hidden sunspot is emitting a massive X-class flare, and soon the Earth could be “in the line of fire.”
Astronomers recently discovered a massive explosion on the far side of the Sun that is likely to have caused one of the most powerful solar flares.
A massive explosion on the far side of the Sun recently resulted in an X-class flare, one of the most powerful solar flares the Sun can produce.
The resulting solar storm narrowly misses the Earth, but the sunspot responsible for its burping could soon head straight for our planet.
The epic eruption was discovered on January 3 by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), an Earth-orbiting spacecraft, in collaboration with NASA and the European Space Agency.
According to Spaceweather.com, SOHO has detected a bright plasma stream known as a coronal mass ejection (CME) emerging from the southeastern edge of the Sun.
A coronal mass ejection was likely caused by a latent far-side flare and was recorded as a class C event, the third largest class of solar flares (classes of solar flares include A, B, C, M, and X, with all being a class that is at least ten times more powerful than its predecessor). But based on the size and strength of the apparent coronal mass ejection, experts believe the hidden eruption that caused it could be large enough to be classified as a Class X flare.
According to NASA, the most powerful X-class flares could be emitted by the Sun with a force equivalent to about a billion hydrogen bombs.
If one of these flares hit Earth upside down, it could cause massive power and radio outages on the side of the planet facing the Sun and damage satellites in Earth orbit.
According to NASA, the resulting afterglow would be so intense that even passengers on nearby planes could receive small doses of radiation.
☀️ SIGNIFICANT EXPLOSION ON THE FAR SIDE OF THE SUN: NASA SDO detected shockwaves from an explosion that engulfed both poles of the Sun. Helioseismic echoes indicate its location no more than 2 days behind the eastern limb of the Sun and may be an old sunspot AR3163. https://t.co/nntTFikLpEpic.twitter.com/iI6BeXxs8O
— Justice (@Loveon999) January 4, 2023
Een zeer krachtige explores aan de andere kant van de zon.
Waarschijnlijk zou dit de oude zonnevlek #AR3163 Kunnen zijn, die de afgelopen twee weken aan de andere kant van de zon doorbracht.
Geduld, you want a lot of food ???? pic.twitter.com/dynopGUuFv
– Marijke Louise (@HZwartemeer) January 4, 2023
According to Spaceweather.com, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) simulated a solar storm caused by the latest class X flare and found that it will slightly outpace Earth in the next few days. However, this does not mean that we will stay clean for a long time.
— Space weather (@spaceweather) January 4, 2023
Astronomers believe the massive flare was caused by a sunspot – planet-sized dark regions that form in the sun’s lower atmosphere as a result of magnetic disturbances – known as AR3163, which orbited the far side of the sun about two weeks ago. a mild to moderate coronal mass ejection was released on the side closest to the Sun.
Based on the potential strength of the hidden glow, experts believe the spot’s size has increased exponentially since it disappeared from view, according to Spaceweather.com.
When the last outburst occurred, AR3163 was expected to reappear on the near side of the Sun in two days, based on acoustic imaging known as solar seismic echoes, which can detect distortions in the sun’s hidden surface.
And on January 5, the nearest edge of AR3163 began to appear on the solar horizon, as expected, according to Spaceweather.com.
It will soon be pointed directly at Earth and may emit more X-class flares, but the likelihood of a direct impact is relatively low.
The Earth is currently at perihelion, which means that our planet is at its closest point to the Sun.
On January 4, another coronal mass ejection from an M-class flare, which was able to cause a slight interruption in radio communications, hit the Earth just at the moment when the planet came as close as possible to the Sun.
Solar activity will continue to increase as we approach the peak of the 11-year solar cycle, which will occur in 2025.
The Sun had 24 active sunspots in December 2022, the highest number in more than seven years, according to Spaceweather.com.
Source: Living Science