New sunspot group unleashes barrage of huge solar flares as astronomers predict two years of storms which could cause chaos on Earth

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2111506/Sign-things-come-New-group-sunspots-unleashes-huge-solar-flare-years-violent-solar-storms-predicted.html

  • ‘X-class’ flare is most powerful kind of solar flare
  • Two years of violent solar storms predicted

By Rob Waugh

Last updated at 3:45 PM on 7th March 2012

A powerful new group of sun spots has unleashed a barrage of solar flares – including an X1 class flare, the most powerful kind of solar flare.

The huge X1 flare comes as astronomers predict two years of solar storms which could disrupt satellites and electricity networks – and even affect Earth’s magnetic field

The X1 solar flare in a new active region on the sun, region 1429. It has let loose two M-class flares and one X-class so farThe X1 solar flare in a new active region on the sun, region 1429. It has let loose two M-class flares and one X-class so far. Material erupted from the sun with each flare, though due to the fact that this active region is still off to the side of the sun, they will likely have a weak effect on Earth’s magnetosphere

The blasts, the most powerful solar activity of the year so far, released highly charged particles into space, but because the active region 1429 is off to the ‘side’ of the sun, the blasts will not affect Earth too badly, and should only cause increased aurora or Northern lights.

So far, region 1429 has let loose two M-class flares and one X-class flare. The group of sun-spots is several times larger than Earth.

The peak of solar activity is expected by 2013.

Dr Matthew Penn, of the National Solar Observatory in Arizona, said: ‘Because the sun is becoming more active, it will have an impact on millions of people. Sunspots can cause the biggest and most damaging space storms that occur.

‘During the next two years, we are expecting the number of sunspots visible on the sun to reach a maximum. We know that sunspots are the source of a lot of space weather and solar storms, so we expect a larger number of solar storms here at the Earth.

This can impact our daily lives – power systems, communication systems, navigation systems.We expect to have more disruptions to our daily lives in the next two years because of solar activity.’

The sun-spot group 1429 is seen on the surface of the Sun on this photo taken from Salgotarjan, 109 kms northeast of Budapest, HungaryThe sun-spot group 1429 is seen on the surface of the Sun on this photo taken from Salgotarjan, 109 kms northeast of Budapest, Hungary

 

The explosions on the sun created a 'coronal mass ejection' which sent a large amount of charged particles into space, but they are expected to avoid Earth because the sun spots are off to the side of our starThe explosions on the sun created a ‘coronal mass ejection’ which sent a large amount of charged particles into space, but they are expected to avoid Earth because the sun spots are off to the side of our star

Dr Scott McIntosh, of the National Centre For Atmosphere Research in Boulder, Colorado, said in an interview with Horizon: ‘If we don’t understand space weather more clearly, we could easily end up in the electronic Dark Ages.’

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Posted on March 7, 2012, in Earth Changes / Extreme Weather, Science / Technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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