Massive Sunspots Aimed At Earth
November 14, 2011 by Sam Rolley
The largest active region on the sun since 2005 is reportedly currently aimed directly at Earth; any solar eruptions caused by its processes may affect the planet.
According to National Geographic, an area on the sun called Active Region 1139, a cluster of magnetic activity first spotted by satellites, came into view of telescopes on Earth last week. The sunspots are reportedly so large that they can now even be viewed by the naked eye.
The recent increased solar activity is said to have been what caused the Aurora Borealis to be witnessed as far south as Oklahoma, Georgia and Texas in late October.
Sunspots are where solar flares usually occur, since the magnetic fields in the active regions can build up enough energy to break and release bursts of intense radiation into the solar system. If the sunspots are aimed toward Earth, excess energy can be poured into the atmosphere causing magnetic storms that create aurorae like the Northern lights. The storms could also have a devastating impact on power grids and disrupt worldwide communication devices.
AR 1339 is expected to pass quietly, but there are more active regions coming. The sun is currently approaching what is known as solar maximum, the peak of our star’s roughly 11-year cycle of magnetic activity, according to the article.