Massive Sunspot Has Doubled In Size In Recent Days Could Send Solar Storms Careening Toward Earth

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
By Paul Martin

By Daily MailUK

A massive double-barrelled sunspot that has doubled in size in the past few days could now send a series of solar flares towards Earth.

Though the severity of the disruption is yet unknown, some scientists are predicting the spot could send off medium-scale solar flares.

These could cause radio blackouts and disruptions in the Earth’s polar regions.

According to SpaceWeather.com, the sunspot in active region 1416 could send out ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic energy in what is known as an M-class flare.

Though M-class flares aren’t nearly as dangerous as X-class flares, which affect satellites and electrical grids as well as lasting radiation storms, people could still notice minor inconveniences such as radio disturbances.

M-class flares can also cause the aurora borealis to erupt in dazzling light shows.

SpaceWeather’s Tony Phillips wrote: ‘Any such eruptions this weekend would be Earth-directed as the sunspot turns to face our planet.’

On Friday, the sun emitted a coronal mass ejection, known as CME, in the shape of a heart.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported: ‘A preliminary model run predicts this CME will arrive, appropriately enough, on Valentine’s Day.’

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