NASA scientists spotted a dark hole on the sun’s surface that could send powerful solar flares to earth. This “monster sunspot” is 11 times wider (more than 60,000 miles) than the Earth turned to face our planet. Our star may soon start spouting off some powerful storms.
Two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were erupted on Tuesday, where a portion of the sun’s atmosphere breaks off. To be noted that, the CMEs are travelling at 1.5 million miles per hour speed. Scientists at NASA’s Space Dynamics Observatory called the Sunspot Region 1476 a “monster sunspot” for its largeness and noticeability.
“With at least four dark cores larger than Earth, AR 1476 sprawls more than 100,000 km from end to end, and makes an easy target for backyard solar telescopes,” the website spaceweather.com reported on Monday (May 7).
The huge sunspot became visible over the weekend. According to researchers, it measures more than 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) across. AR 1476 is so big that it’s been warned not to look at the sun directly with telescopes or the unaided eye. Rather to have a safe solar view, special filters are required to avoid serious eye damage. Photographers are warned to view it using only camera’s LCD.
Solar activity waxes and wanes on an 11-year cycle, and scientists think the current one — known as Solar Cycle 24 will approach a “solar maximum” in 2013.