NASA has shared a stunning new image of an active sunspot on the Sun’s surface.
A sunspot dubbed AR3006 exploded Tuesday, producing an intense X1.5 class solar flare.
NASA captured the extreme ultraviolet flash with its Solar Dynamics Observatory, which has been observing the Sun since 2010.
Radiation from the flare caused a shortwave radio blackout around the Atlantic.
Similarly, radio transmissions operating at frequencies below ~30MHz were weakened for more than an hour after the flare.
Interestingly, the active sunspot has been described as “confused” by space experts at SpaceWeather.com.
Sunspot AR3006 is said to have a positive-negative (+/-) magnetic field, but deep inside its core the polarity is reversed, experts explained.
“The mix of magnetic polarities makes this sunspot interesting and dangerous,” they said.
“When opposite polarities collide, it can light the fuse of magnetic reconnection – the explosive power source of solar flares.”
Along with the flare, experts also noted coronal mass ejection (CME) activity from the Sun’s southern hemisphere.
“It is unclear whether these CMEs are related to the X-flare or instead to other, smaller explosions that occurred at almost the same time,” reported SpaceWeather.com.
At this point, NOAA analysts are trying to figure out if any of the CMEs could hit Earth.
What is a sunspot?
Sunspots refer to visible dark areas in the Sun’s photosphere as a result of “intense magnetic flux pushing up from further inside the Sun’s interior,” NOAA explained.
Scientists use the known number of sunspots to assess our Sun’s solar activity in 11-year cycles.
Each cycle consists of peaks and troughs known as the “solar maximum” and “solar minimum,” respectively.
What are solar flares and CMEs?
A solar tariff is a burst of intense high-energy radiation from the sun’s surface. A CME is a type of solar flare.
CMEs typically eject large amounts of plasma from the Sun’s outer layer, called the corona.
When solar flares collide with the Earth’s magnetic field, they can create geomagnetic storms that affect our satellites and power grid.
Each solar storm that hits Earth is ranked by magnitude.
Some cause radio failures and can pose a hazard to astronauts on the ISS.
A small storm can confuse migratory animals, which rely on the earth’s magnetic field to orient themselves.
One good thing about solar storms is that they can create very beautiful natural light displays like the Northern Lights.
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https://www.the-sun.com/tech/5314020/nasa-stunning-image-mixed-up-sunspot/ Nasa unveils stunning image of a ‘mistaken’ sunspot EXPLODING on the sun’s surface as it shoots flares at Earth