The massive sunspot observed on the sun has been brewing strong solar flares from the past week, and it’s still producing powerful solar storms.
Sunspots are the solar system’s active regions that look like dark spots. These are caused by powerful magnetic activity and can cause flares and coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. These flares intimidate power and communication systems when directed to the Earth.
According to National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center, today, the huge sunspot fired off a large solar flare, peaking at around 10:47 a.m. EDT (1447 GMT). The flare caused a strong radio blackout on Earth. This solar flare is the 4th X-flare, which is the most powerful kind of solar storms in as many days.
On 26th Oct, Sunday, the giant sunspot spewed out a solar flare, which peaked at about 6:56 a.m. EDT (1056 GMT). The sunspot, dubbed AR 12192 (also known as Active Region 12192), also shot out another powerful flare on Saturday. Saturday’s flare is classified as an X1 flare while, today and Sunday’s flares measured as X2. X-class flares are categorized as the most powerful of solar flares and they are linked with solar radiation storms mostly if they come with CMEs.
Karen Fox, NASA spokesperson wrote in an update yesterday (Oct. 26), “the Sunday’s X2-class flare was “the third X-class flare in 48 hours, exploding from the largest active region seen on the sun in 24 years. Moreover, AR 12129 also shot out an X3.1-class flare on Friday (Oct. 24).”
Since Friday, the active region on the sun is also responsible for spewing out two big M-class flares, also known as moderate solar storms. The most recent M-class flare (categorized as an M6.7) peaked this morning at about 6:09 a.m. EDT (1009 GMT).
Fox further told, “An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.”
Tony Phillips, an astronomer at Spaceweather.com stated, “Sometimes, big solar flares are followed by huge bursts of hot plasma known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) spewing out from the sun. Large CMEs can cause geomagnetic storms or supercharge Earth’s auroras, but the earlier storms released by the current sunspot have not had any major accompanying CMEs.