This week, a huge sunspot sent a huge solar flare straight toward Earth. It hit our planet’s magnetic field and messed things up.
Multiple reports and space weather experts said that the solar flare was 10 million degrees Celsius (18 million degrees Fahrenheit).
After building up for a few days, the four-times-the-size-of-Earth sunspot finally blew up late on Monday, September 12.
Before the solar storm, scientists said that the sunspot region called AR3098, which has been covered by Physics-Astronomy before, had a high chance of sending out flares.
At that time, the active sunspot region was getting more and more active, which made even space enthusiasts aware of the threat of a solar flare.
As usual, the solar flare included highly energetic, destructive solar particles.
In recent weeks and months, the sun, which is the only star in our solar system, has shown signs of more solar activity. It has sent out solar flares, solar winds, and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).
With documented occurrences in April in Asia, Australia, and Europe, these solar eruptions are followed by the aforementioned particles in the form of geomagnetic storms, solar radiation storms, and radio blackouts.
Solar Storm Alert
AR3098 had an M.17 flare on Monday, with plasma that was hotter than 10 million Kelvin and a radio blackout over the Pacific, according to a tweet by solar scientist Dr. C. Alex Young.
Young is said to have stated that the solar storm caused short-term problems in the Pacific Ocean. This is in line with what the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration(NOAA) said.
Solar Flare Disruption
Monday, a 10-cm radio burst showed that an electromagnetic burst caused by a solar flare was moving at a longer wavelength than initial the 10-cm radio background.
The NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center says that this caused short-term problems with radar, the Global Positioning System (GPS), and satellite communications (SWPC).
Solar Cycle 25
The Sun is currently in Solar Cycle 25, a phase that lasts 11 years. At the beginning of this phase, the Sun’s activity is at its lowest, which is called its solar minimum. As the cycle goes on, the Sun’s activity increases until it reaches its solar maximum.
Solar storms are likely to happen again in the next few years, according to experts. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking into ways to protect the upper atmosphere of our planet.
In 2020, NASA and NOAA led and co-sponsored the Solar Cycle Panel 25. This panel, made up of experts from around the world, announced that Solar Cycle 25 would start in December 2019 and last until 2030.
During this meeting, the panel said that solar events will keep getting worse as the sun gets closer to its peak in 2025.
The experts say this will have an effect on the Blue Planet’s living things, technology, satellites, and astronauts in space.
NASA said that this is why we need the Geospace Dynamics Constellation (GDC), a strategic Living With a Star (LWS) mission that wants to learn how Earth’s upper atmosphere works and how it protects our planet.