Giant Sunspot AR3038 has doubled in size and points straight towards the earth. May be Aurora’s coming

Sunspots are usually no cause for concern, although they double in size overnight and grow to twice the size of the earth. This is exactly what happened with Active Region 3038 (AR3038), a sunspot that happens to face the Earth and can produce some minor solar flares. Although there is no cause for concern, it means that a potentially exciting event could happen – spectacular northern lights.

Although researchers consistently point out that people are not at risk for sunspots like the AR3038, the popular media does not stop worrying about them, especially those that appear to be growing rapidly. But all of this is in line with the course, according to Rob Steenburgh, head of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Forecast Office.

He points out that this type of rapid growth is exactly what we expect to see at this point in the solar cycle, the 11-year-old recurring pattern that started again in 2019. He also points out that sunspots of this type usually do not produce the types of dangerous sun flames that can strike out satellites or disrupt the power grid. It simply lacks complexity.

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UT video describing when we should be worried about solar flares.

Solar eruptions occur when the magnetic fields around a sunspot break and merge into complex patterns, some of which cause flair to be thrown into the solar system. If they hit the ground, they could potentially cause damage to some infrastructure, especially those that depend on electricity. However, they are much more likely to make spectacular northern lights when their ions hit the Earth’s own magnetic field.

They are rated in severity, scaled from B (the weakest) to C, M and X (the strongest). X-burners have their own grading system, and the most powerful solar flames, X20, occur less than once per 11-year solar cycle and usually do not face the Earth.

The probability of an X20 being formed due to the AR3038 is small, although there was a 10% chance that it would create a less powerful X flare. More likely is the M-burner, which the AR3038 has a 25% chance of developing before it dies down in size and scale, as sunspots usually do.

UT video about the most violent solar storm in history – The Carrington Event.

However, it does not appear that any of these torches will be aimed at the earth, as the AR3038 has rotated back out of sight and is no longer facing us. There is another active region, AR3040, which had 6 C-class torches during the last 24 hours. So there may still be a chance for some spectacular northern lights if the planet happens to be in the way of one of these C-Class blouses.

If not, the whole episode of the rapid growth of AR3038 will be another example that the public in general is concerned about what appears to be a threatening course of events, but which is quite common and even harmless. With all the equipment currently set up to monitor the sun, the general public can be assured that we will at least have some warning before a potentially harmful torch affects our terrestrial systems. But it can take a while before it happens, so do not hold your breath.

Learn more:
USA Today – “No need to panic” as sunspots with potential for solar flames double in size overnight, researchers say
Space.com – A giant sunspot the size of 3 Earths is facing us right now
Earthsky.org – Solar activity: Minor geomagnetic storm
UT – Astronomy Jargon 101: Sunspots
OUT – A colossal torch erupted from the other side of the sun

Management picture:
Composite image of the sun’s surface 21.06.22. AR3038 can be seen at the top right.
Credit – NOAA’s space weather reporting office