July 24, 2024

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The sunspots that once again unleashed the historic aurora and solar storm

The sunspots that once again unleashed the historic aurora and solar storm

Sunspots AR3664which was last seen blasting powerful solar flares in our direction that generated historic and widespread auroras, has once again turned on the Sun’s surface and already unleashed an X-class flare early Monday.

Noah Space Weather Prediction Center It recorded a flare off the sun’s southeast limb at magnitude X2.8. X torches are the strongest torches classification although we saw several stronger torches earlier this month. The higher the number, the more intense the flare, which could cause radio and other communications on Earth to be interrupted.

However, the strength of the flare is just one of many factors that affect how solar disturbances affect systems on our planet. In fact, aurora borealis and electrical system disturbances are closely linked to coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which are explosions of charged particles that can take a few days to reach Earth. CMEs are also directional, so when one is fired from a sunspot directly targeting Earth, it is likely to produce stronger impacts.

The source of the May 10 supersolar storm that generated the aurora seen in all 50 states for the first time in decades was also sunspot AR3664, when it was pointed directly at Earth in early May. The Sun rotates on its axis like Earth, and sunspot AR3664 has spent the past few weeks on the far side of the Sun facing away from our planet, but is now rotating again from our perspective.

AR3664 appears to still have some steam left after its travels, and another sunspot, AR3691, is also growing and developing X-flare potential as its launch line approaches Earth.

All of this means we could be ready for what was seen on May 10 to appear in the next week or two.

No official forecasts have been published yet that include a repeat of this month’s massive storm, but the sun is a very fickle thing. We will learn a lot about what is to come by watching closely this week.

If Monday’s X-flare is any indication, it’s that there’s more excitement to come, especially since this solar cycle is thought by many to be a year or more away from peak activity.

ForbesA solar storm more intense than the one that occurred last weekend could occur soon

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