New sunspots cause intense solar flares and push particles into space

Our calm sun witnessed solar flares that lasted about five hours, during the early hours of Tuesday, October 26.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) recorded a series of explosions on the edge of the sun, and NASA was not able to predict the exact nature of these explosions, as the tip remained obscured from the Earth due to the rotation of the planet.

Although it is not clear from the angle of the eruptions (relative to Earth) from where exactly they emanated, but space weather tracking website SpaceWeather.com indicated that they were emitted from a sunspot, or a dark focus of magnetic activity on the surface of the sun.

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“At least six eruptions occurred during that short time,” SpaceWeather.com wrote in the report. “The location of the eruption is hidden behind the edge of the sun. It is almost certain to be an unstable sunspot.”

The report added that scientists will get a better glimpse of the region when it orbits against the Earth within about 24 to 48 hours.

The rotation of the Sun varies with latitude because it is a large ball of gas, but it takes 24 Earth days to rotate at the equator and more than 30 days at the poles.

With the solar minimum now gone, the sun is awakening again as the strength of the solar magnetic field provides a more solid barrier to cosmic rays trying to enter the solar system.

The sun has an 11-year active solar cycle and 2021 is the start of another active cycle. Astronomers note that during the beginning of the cycle, there are fewer sunspots, but when they reach their peak activity, which is expected to occur around mid-2025, these spots increase, obliterating the sun’s particles in open space.

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Beautiful view of Earth as seen from space

It is unclear exactly how strong this solar cycle is, although Solar Cycle 25 (the current cycle) has a general consensus among scientists that the average number of sunspots was lower than normal: a range of 95 to 130 at peak, compared to typical 140 to 220 sunspots in previous cycles.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is one of a group of telescopes and spacecraft that looks at the Sun in an effort to improve solar weather forecasts. A strong glow directed toward Earth, if accompanied by a stream of charged particles known as emission, could cause problems such as shorting satellites or damaging power lines.

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