NASA has spotted a huge hole in the Sun and experts have warned it could cause radio blackouts on Earth, knock out communications satellites and create radiation storms.
The sunspot, called AR2665, is 74,560 miles (120,000 kilometres) wide and big enough to be seen from Earth. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory first detected the huge spot last week and experts believe it could send ‘M-class’ solar flares down to us on Earth.
In a statement, NASA said:
A new sunspot group has rotated into view and seems to be growing rather quickly. It is the first sunspot to appear after the sun was spotless for two days, and it is the only sunspot group on the sun at this moment.
It could be the source for some solar flares, but it is too early to predict just what it will do.
While the spot seems to be lingering, it has become a source of concern. Sunspots are darker, cooler areas on the surface of the sun, caused by the sun’s magnetic field.
They usually crop up in areas of intense magnetic activity, and when that energy is released, solar flares and huge radiation storms erupt from sunspots.
Yesterday, forecasters from NOAA predicted a 25 per cent chance of seeing M-class flares today, because the sunspot was directly facing our planet.
However, unless I’m missing something, their tentative prediction didn’t come true so we’re probably all going to be fine. So sit back, relax, and marvel at this unbelievably cool quirk of the solar system.