A massive sunspot is currently active and turning its powerful eye in Earth’s direction. Although the entity hasn’t yet released a coronal mass ejection, NASA experts think that the powerful energy bursts and solar winds from the sunspot could have serious effects even here on our home planet. Forbes News offers the latest details available on this tremendous mass this Friday, October 24, 2014, which spans 80,000 miles across and thought to be the largest in over two decades.
The public knows that a massive sunspot is truly of colossal size when it is visible from the surface of Earth. Region AR2192 has indeed become that big — with necessary eye protection, it can actually be detected. NASA experts have confirmed that the sunspot is currently emitting intense solar flares, it has not yet “popped,” or released a coronal mass ejection.
These ejections are extremely high energy bursts of plasma from the sun that can cause a number of consequences quite close to home. Communication lines from satellites orbiting earth can be interrupted by this powerful eruption, electrical grids can go haywire, and for people fortunate enough to witness it, can even result in auroras (polar, or Northern lights) make a spectacular show of color.
To put it into layman’s terms, shares United Press International News this afternoon, this massive sunspot is approximately 80,000 miles across and in its active state, thought to be the very largest in size and power in the past 25 years.
“This is the largest sunspot group since November of 1990,” Doug Biesecker, a scientist at the National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center, announced in a statement to the Washington Post.
While it may be reaching an impressive size noticeable from even Earth now, this sunspot has been around for quite some time. NASA scientists first noted this region on the sun beginning to form in early 2008. Since then, it has continued to develop and grow, entering an active state and emitting intense solar flares. Cooler regions on the sun can become these “sunspots” — they permit for magnetic fields to erupt from the titanic star’s surface in our solar system and enter the chromosphere. Effects from this gigantic entity turning its intimidating eye towards our own planet Earth should be kept in mind, experts warn. Adds Spaceweather.com in their inside report:
“Earth-effects could increase in the days ahead. AR2192 has an unstable ‘beta-gamma-delta’ magnetic field that harbors energy for powerful explosions, and the active region is turning toward Earth. NOAA forecasters estimate a 85% chance of M-class flares and a 45% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours.”
Although these influences may not directly play a role in our daily lives, NASA experts are certainly keeping their eyes peeled. So is Region AR2192 the biggest sunspot of all time? Not quite. Though massive, the biggest sunspot ever recorded in human history was discovered back in 1947; this swirling mass of plasma was thought to be approximately 240,000 miles in size.