sunspot that exceeds the size of the Earth
12:47:13 2023-05-27 241

Detection of a sunspot that exceeds the size of the Earth and can be seen with the eye

An astronomer revealed that one of the sunspots has become so large that it can be seen from Earth with the naked eye, but eye protection must be adhered to.

The sunspot, which is four times the size of Earth, crosses the sun's disk at the moment and is so large that astronomer Bum Suk Yum of South Korea said it can be seen with the naked eye, provided you have the right equipment to observe it safely.

The Day of Astronomy Amateurs advised the use of eclipse glasses that contain lenses that block 100% of ultraviolet and infrared radiation to protect the eyes.

"There is a giant sunspot crossing the disk of the sun, and I can see it clearly with sunglasses," he said on spaceweather.com. "Beware, you must use eclipse glasses or solar filters to protect the eyes."

Observers in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Nebraska were able to snap images of sunspots without any glasses on Monday, as smoke from nearby wildfires provided a natural filter for the sunset.

But looking directly at the sun without appropriate glasses is very dangerous because the ultraviolet rays emitted from the sun can burn the retina and leave permanent damage.

Experts have been observing this particular sunspot, called AR3310, as it faces Earth.

Sunspots are areas where the sun's magnetic fields can be particularly active.

As this sunspot "rolled" around the side of the sun, it released a superflare, a huge explosion that sends energy, light and high-speed particles into space.

This flare was recorded as a high-level M flare, which is the second highest level on a scale that ranks solar flares by strength.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which monitors space weather, said there is a 20 percent chance that the spot will emit a powerful Class X flare while still facing Earth, according to spaceweather.com.

A flare of this magnitude could cause radio blackouts that affect aviation and spark long-lasting radiation storms.

These radiation storms can bring beautiful aurorae, but they can also affect power grids if the glow is directed at us.

More solar activity is likely to come in the coming months, as the sun is currently preparing for its peak activity in an 11-year cycle, during which more sunspots like this one are likely to appear.

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