A gigantic, Earth-oriented sunspot has been observed on our star the Sun. While it continues to grow over the days, does it represent a risk for our planet?
Soberly named “AR3038”, a fairly large sunspot facing the Earth continued to grow until it doubled in size in a few days. This kind of phenomenon can, at first glance, seem very worrying in the event of a solar flare. But science wants to be reassuring “gaining surface area is part of the normal evolution of sunspots during their lifespan, which can last up to a few weeks – even months”, notes the specialized site Futura Science. So what should we expect with this stain exactly?
Rest assured, this stain should not disintegrate the Earth. Similar phenomena have been observed for years, and yet we are still here. The potential risk of this kind of phenomenon increases as the spot grows, the bigger it is, the higher the risk of a solar flare. If such an event were to occur, satellites could be damaged and disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field could be observed.
Huge sunspot group AR3038 imaged this afternoon through a brief sucker hole in the clouds. AR3038 has doubled in size over the last 24 hours! pic.twitter.com/rSl2dS6YFK
—David Hoskin (@d_hoskin) June 20, 2022
In March 1989, for example, a solar storm disrupted the Earth’s magnetic fields, plunging six million people into darkness in Canada. “In one minute, Quebec lost half of its electricity production, and the rest of the network could not withstand such a shock – which caused the blackout” reports Radio Canada.
Some scientists estimate the risk of this stain at only 10%. A figure that can reach 30% in the event of a solar flare of medium magnitude notes FuturaSciences. Sunspots like AR3038 are common at this time in the Sun’s cycle. Being of modest size, it does not currently pose any particular risk to our dear blue planet.