A bizarre sunspot with a tail-like structure has been seen on the Sun. Shockingly, the slightest flick of the tail can send a dangerous solar storm towards the Earth.
The Sun has been behaving in a bizarre manner lately. Shockingly, last week, scientists observed that the vibration pattern of the Sun changed after two humongous sunspots appeared on it. Even earlier, a large sunspot with two cores was spotted which had a strange magnetic field. And now, to make things even more scary, a sunspot has appeared with a long tail attached to it. The tail, which is as long as 390,000 km, is a filament made up of plasma and it carries a strong magnetic charge. It can easily send a powerful blast of coronal mass ejection (CME) towards the Earth and cause a massive solar storm. But what are the chances? Read on to find out.
The strange phenomenon was reported by SpaceWeather.com which mentioned that the name of the sunspot is AR3092. “It extends for about 390,000 km above the surface of the sun. To understand this size more visually, the dark core of sunspot AR3092, seen in the upper left, is about the size of planet Earth,” Eduardo Schaberger Poupeau, photographer who took a picture of the sunspot, told SpaceWeather.com. You can check the image here.
Explaining the risk associated with the sunspot with a tail, the website noted, “The sunspot’s tail is a filament of magnetism emerging from the sunspot’s core and curling away into the sun’s atmosphere. Contained inside the filament is a long tube of relatively cool, dark pasma. Only one end of the filament is moored, so it could become unstable and begin to move around. A flick of this tail could send a CME toward Earth”.
Will this sunspot cause a massive solar storm on Earth?
Although it is not possible to say whether a solar storm will or will not happen, the situation is concerning and that is why space agencies like NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been monitoring it. While some believe that it will dissipate like the previous sunspots and not cause any major catastrophe.
However, some feel that in case it did cause a solar storm, it might be of a massive and quite destructive G5 intensity that can instantly damage satellites, disrupt GPS, and horrifyingly, even disable mobile phones and internet and cause power grid failures. For now, we can only observe and hope for the best.