Biggest sunspot in decades emitting huge solar flares

Biggest sunspot in decades emitting huge solar flares

[Ed. – Global warming?]

The biggest sunspot on the face of the sun in more than two decades unleashed a major flare on Friday (Oct. 24), the fourth intense solar storm from the active star in less than a week.

The solar flare occurred Friday afternoon, reaching its peak at 5:41 p.m. EDT (2141 GMT), and triggered a strong radio blackout at the time, according to the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center. …

The flare erupted from a giant active sunspot known as AR 12192 and was classified as an X3.1-class solar storm — one of the most powerful types of solar storms on the sun — but it is not the first time the sunspot has made its presence known.

“This is the fourth substantial flare from this active region since Oct. 19,” NASA spokesperson Karen Fox wrote in a status update. …

Sunspot AR 12192 dwarfs the Earth and is comparable to Jupiter in its size, according to solar astrophysicist C. Alex Young with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, who described the sunspot in his blog The Sun Today.

The sunspot is the largest of its kind since November 1990, and is larger than a monster sunspot that spawned a series of major solar flares over Halloween in 2003, Young wrote. …

X-class solar flares are the most powerful eruptions on the sun. When aimed directly at Earth, X-class flares can potentially pose a danger to astronauts and spacecraft in space, and interfere with navigation, radio and communications signals.

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