Baltimore, MD - NASA announced last week a colossal sunspot that is six times the size of earth has formed on the sun in less than 48 hours. Scientists have identified this spot to be in an unstable configuration which could potentially lead to a solar flare in the future.
Dr. Ben Sugerman from Goucher college spoke to ABC 2 about this astronomical event saying it's not too uncommon to find spots this big. In order for the earth to feel the full impacts from a solar flare the earth would have to be aligned with the sunspot that produces the flare and the flare itself must be very strong. So far this sunspot has not produced a solar flare.
Solar flares are classified according to the intensity of the solar burst and is assigned a class letter. B class flares are most common while the strongest flares are known as "X" flares which are equivalent to tens of millions of hydrogen bombs. Should an X flare occur damage to our satellite and power grids could be expected.
The last major solar flare to occur was in 1859 known as the Carrington event. This event knocked out telegraph stations world wide. Scientist say if the Carrington event occurred today tens of trillions of dollars in damage would be expected blacking out countries world wide.
The sun is currently in an active phase expected to peak sometime this year.
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