A sunspot “corpse” exploded on Monday (April 11), sending a mass ejection of solar material heading toward Earth.
The explosion came thanks to a dead sunspot called AR2987, according to SpaceWeather.com (Opens in a new tab). The explosion of sunspots released a lot of energy in the form of radiation, which also ejected coronal mass ejections (CME) – exploding balls of solar material – both of which can stimulate an increase in the intensity of the sun. Northern lights at Landupper atmosphere. According to SpaceWeather, the material in that CME will likely impact Earth on April 14.
Sunspots are dark areas on the surface the sun. according to Space Weather Forecasting Center (Opens in a new tab). These spots are temporary and can last anywhere from hours to months. The idea of ”dead” sunspots is more poetic than scientific, said Philip Judge, a heliophysicist at the High Altitude Observatory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), but the sun’s convection breaks up those spots, leaving parts of the sun’s calm, turbulent surface to wake up. magnetically.
“Once in a while, sunspots can ‘reboot,'” Judge wrote in an email, with more magnetism They appear later (days, weeks) in the same region, as if there was a weakness in the convective region, or as if there was an unstable region under the surface that is particularly good at generating magnetic fields underneath.”
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Whatever the future of AR2987, the sunspot released a Class C solar flare at 5:21 UTC on Monday (April 11). Such flares occur when plasma and magnetic fields over sunspots give way under pressure; They are accelerating outward, the judge said, because they would hit denser material if they descended toward the sun’s interior.
Class C flares are fairly common and rarely cause any direct impacts on the ground. Sometimes, as with today’s eruption, solar flares can lead to coronal mass eruptions, which are massive eruptions of plasma and magnetic fields from the Sun that travel outward into space at millions of miles per hour. Class C solar flares rarely trigger CMEs, according to Spaceweather Live (Opens in a new tab)And when that happens, EMEs are slow and weak.
When CMEs strike Earth’s surrounding magnetic field, charged particles within the package can travel down magnetic field lines emerging from the north and south poles and interact with gases in the atmosphere, releasing energy in the forms of Photons and create the dazzling changing blinds known as the aurora – the northern and southern lights.
During quiet times on the Sun’s surface, a stream of particles known as the solar wind is sufficient to move the aurora borealis in the polar regions. During a large CME, a larger disturbance in the planet’s magnetic field means that the aurora borealis may appear over a much wider range. so called CME cannibals He raced toward Earth at the end of March, causing the aurora borealis in Canada, the northern United States and New Zealand, Reported by Space.com.
According to SpaceWeather, the CME released on Monday could produce a minor geomagnetic storm (G1) on April 14, meaning there could be slight impacts on satellite operations and weak fluctuations in the power grid. The aurora may become visible at lower latitudes than usual, as far south as northern Michigan and Maine.
All of this activity is more or less equated with the path of the Sun, according to the Center for Solar Impact Data Analysis, part of the Royal Belgian Observatory. It’s a time of increased activity for our nearest star, which goes through periods of calm and activity known as solar cycles. The sun is currently in solar cycle 25, which is the 25th since official observations began in 1755. The number of sunspots during this cycle is constantly increasing and is It is expected to reach its peak in 2025which means more opportunities for solar storms – and the aurora borealis.
Strong geomagnetic storms were also observed Sunday (10 April). But according to the Solar Impact Data Analysis Center, no Earth-guided heavy objects have been observed in the past 24 hours other than those spit out by AR2987 remnants.
Originally published on Live Science.