An enormous sunspot, which can be seen from the surface of Mars, is turning towards Earth as scientists warn of a possible ‘grid destroying’ solar flare.
Sunspot group AR3576, which measures 124,274 miles across the sun’s surface, contains four dark cores larger than planet Earth, according to Spaceweather.
The group was so big it could be seen from Mars by NASA’s Perseverance Rover,
However, scientists are now warning the sunspot is turning towards Earth.
While the sunspot is only forecast to cause a G1-class geomagnetic storm, it is still close to Earth.
However, the forecast is based on a “coin flip,” meaning the Earth could experience a near-miss or a “glancing blow,” which could be devastating.
THE MARTIAN SUNSPOT IS FACING EARTH: A sunspot so big it was seen last week as far away as Mars has now turned to face Earth. NASA's Perseverance rover photographed it from Jezero crater, and it has only grown bigger since then. Here's how AR3576 looked yesterday from Argentina: pic.twitter.com/C76VBlxDEv— JimeV Augmented Mouse (@Jelwoodv) February 8, 2024
Eduardo Schaberger Poupeau, who photographed the sunspots in Argentina, told the forecaster:
“The view was fantastic.”
“AR3576 appeared as a large archipelago containing a multitude of dark cores.”
Space also noted that people with the proper viewing equipment can see the sunspots from their own homes.
Solar activity is expected to increase in 2024 as the Earth enters a period of high cosmic activity.
Every 11 or so years, the sun goes through what is known as a “solar maximum,” where high levels of activity are observed during the peak.
Last month, a large geomagnetic storm hit the Earth’s atmosphere, disrupting radio and GPS, according to models by both NASA and NOAA.
The Daily Fetched reported:
The flare was spat out from the sun’s surface on Sunday, with the coronal mass ejection (CME) set to collide with the Earth at around 1 p.m. ET.
Experts have warned that the CME collision could lead to G2-class or even G3-class storms, triggering GPS issues and satellite problems.
Space weather physicist Tamitha Skov posted on X, formerly Twitter:
“Direct Hit! An impressive #solarstorm launch in the Earth-strike zone means a new chance for #aurora by midday Jan 22. We could see a G2-G3 with this one if the magnetic field of the storm is oriented correctly. Amateur radio & #GPS users, expect disruptions on Earth’s nightside.”
We have one, if not two #solarstorms headed for Earth today! The first launched near Region 3555. It is expected to hit early to midday January 22. The second is a side-swiping storm launched near 3559. It may give us a glancing blow January 23. Also, an unstable filament is in… pic.twitter.com/Iwe744c5xe— Dr. Tamitha Skov (@TamithaSkov) January 21, 2024
As Newsweek reported:
“CMEs are triggered by magnetic activity on the sun’s surface flinging out huge volumes of solar plasma. This cloud, if aimed toward the Earth, approaches our planet in around 48 to 72 hours, though some can arrive much sooner. When the plume collides with the Earth’s magnetic field, it can cause disturbances that trigger a geomagnetic storm.”