Solar flare warning as sunspot ‘bigger than Earth’ appears on surface of the sun

Another solar flare is Earth-bound, but this one is only expected to cause very minor disturbance, despite storms having the potential to cause major disruption on the Earth

The storm is only expected to cause minor disturbance

Experts have issued yet another warning for a solar flare as more sun-spewed particles charge towards the Earth.

It came after the northern lights were seen as far south as Wales on November 3 and another colourful burst was seen on October 28.

The warning was issued for Monday and Tuesday, and SpaceWeather said: “A minor stream of solar wind is approaching Earth, and it could cause polar geomagnetic unrest when it arrives on November 8 or 9.”

The storm is only expected to cause minor disturbance and there is little chance of the northern lights being visible in northern parts of England, as they were recently.

It coincided with a sunspot – officially named AR2895 – appearing, believed to be bigger than the Earth.

Solar flares can erupt from the surface of the sun with the force of 2.5 million nuclear bombs.

When the flares – also known as geomagnetic storms – hit the Earth they can cause interference with radio waves and some power outages.

Huge storms have the potential to be incredibly disruptive.

Will the storm be a problem?



The northern lights are unlikely to be seen in the UK as a result of this storm
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Image:

Yelena Vereshchaka/TASS)




It is unlikely. There may be some minor disturbance in the polar areas. These places are more vulnerable as particles are drawn in and captured by the Earth’s magnetic field.

Storms do have the potential to cause major disruption, like the Carrington Event in 1859. Telephone lines were set on fire and the northern lights were seen as far down as the Caribbean.





This storm is not predicted to be that strong so there is unlikely to be any chance of the northern lights being seen from the UK.

The northern lights – also known at the Aurora Borealis – occur when particles ht the Earth’s atmosphere. Light is given off when the electrically charge particles hit the atmosphere and are heated up. Different gases glow different colours.

Are solar flares going to become more common?



Solar flares will peak around 2025
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Image:

Getty Images)




Geomagnetic storms become more and less common depending on the point we are at in the solar cycle.

While solar flares are never uncommon, they become far more frequent at a particular point in the cycle, which lasts around 11 years.

Scientists predict that the next peak of the cycle will be in 2025.

Experts are unsure how powerful the next cycle is going to be and tend to base predictions on how may sunspots on the surface there are at one time.

The less frequent sunspots are tend to indicate the end of a cycle. If there are lower than normal amount of sunspots, then experts generally foresee fewer powerful storms in the cycle.





The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that a “panel agreed that Cycle 25 will be average in intensity and similar to Cycle 24.”

Others base their prediction off something called ‘the terminator’. This is the point when magnetic activity from a previous solar cycle disappears and scientists track it.

They are a little complicated and Science Alert said: “The findings are based on almost 140 years of solar observations, and include careful recordings of coronal bright points (brief flickers of extreme ultraviolet light) that happen during periods of relative calm on the Sun.

“The movement and eventual disappearance of these points is what marks a terminator event.”

As a result of results based on this method of research, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is predicting that the next cycle could be “one of the strongest since record keeping began.”


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About the author: Patrick Shoe

General coffee junkie. Infuriatingly humble entrepreneur. Introvert. Extreme zombie practitioner.

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