A sunspot pointing directly at Earth could produce a dangerous X-class flare

(ORDO NEWS) — The sunspot has developed a magnetic field that could trigger class X solar flares, experts say.

Some astronomers believe a major solar flare could occur as the Sun’s large sunspot has been discouragingly quiet this week.

“Could it be the calm before the storm?” asks former NASA astronomer Dr. Tony Phillips in an article on SpaceWeather.com.

Despite calm conditions, the sunspot under the catalog name AR3089 does not disappear. It created a delta-class magnetic field capable of generating X-class solar flares, Phillips said.

X-class flares are the most intense, but they are quite variable, and the most intense flare produces as much energy as a billion hydrogen bombs. Fortunately, the Earth’s magnetosphere does not allow this intense flare to harm living things.

However, there are several risks associated with X-flares, including the formation of coronal mass ejections that could damage satellites and communications systems on Earth.

By some estimates, the strongest flare ever recorded occurred in 2003 and was rated X40, although the sensors that measured it went off at around X16.

Researchers classify solar flares based on their X-ray brightness. In general, there are three categories:

Large X-class flares that can cause worldwide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms in the upper atmosphere.

These types of flares occur on average about ten times a year, more often during solar maxima than solar minima. During solar flares, strong or extreme radio outages (R3 – R5) occur on the day side of the Earth.

Earth’s polar regions are usually subject to brief radio outages caused by class M flares. A class M flare can sometimes be followed by a small radiation storm.

Class C flares are smaller than X- and M-class flares and do not have a noticeable effect on the Earth.

According to the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, there is only a five percent chance of a Class X flare in the next three days. However, we may see a massive flare and a CME with a dangerous sunspot pointing straight at us.

Even though an eruption is unlikely anytime soon, we won’t be out of the forest anytime soon.

Since our star is near the peak of its 11-year sunspot cycle, it can be expected to remain hyperactive for some time to come. By 2025, scientists expect outbreaks to become more intense and extreme, with a peak in 2025.

As a result, some concerns may arise. According to a study published in 2021 by the University of California-Irvine, our Internet communication structure is vulnerable to strong solar storms like those that could occur around 2025.

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