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Scientists warn that planet-sized sunspot directed at Earth has grown tenfold

Scientists warn that planet-sized sunspot directed at Earth has grown tenfold

It was a tiny speck just a few days ago but has since ballooned in size

A huge sunspot has grown rapidly in size and is pointed right towards the general direction of Earth. I think I speak for all of us when I say, ‘Not now, giant sunspot, we’ve all got a lot on our plates’. 

The sunspot, named AR3085, was only visible as a tiny speck a few days back but it has since ballooned ten times the size and has turned into a double sunspot group with cores that are almost the same size as Earth, according to

As well as growing, the sunspot has also been ‘crackling’ with C-class solar flares. But before you start to panic about the end days - C-class solar flares are actually pretty weak, with ‘few noticeable consequences here on Earth’. 

Although the C-class flares are weak enough to not cause damage on Earth, M-class are slightly stronger and can cause some radio blackouts; and the strongest solar flares - X-class - have the potential to be a lot more destructive and can damage satellites, cause widespread radio blackouts, and take out power grids.


A forecast on Solar Activity from the Met Office reads: “Solar activity has become Moderate, with an increasing number of C-class flares and two M-class flares, the largest being an M1.8 observed at 25/1951 UTC, originating from a region located in the southeast quadrant. 

“There are seven sunspot regions on the visible disc, two of which are small, simple and fading in the northeast. The largest and most complex region is in the southwest quadrant. This region continues to grow in size and remains unusually aligned north to south. Another region worth of note is in the southeast quadrant and has been responsible for the recent M1.8 flare. This region is increasing in size and complexity, with proliferation of spots on its trailing side. 


“No Earth-directed CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections) were observed in the last 24 hours.” 

Sunspots occur in ‘areas where magnetic fields are particularly strong. These magnetic fields are so strong that they keep some of the heat within the Sun from reaching the surface’.

A solar flare is an explosion that happens when energy stored in magnetic fields - most commonly sunspots - is released. 

These solar flares release a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, including radio waves and gamma-rays.

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Featured Image Credit: NASA

Topics: NASA, Space, World News