Sunspot AR1654 was not pointing its potential power toward Earth, until recently. The massive sunspot exhibited “extreme” ultraviolet eruptions over the weekend, according to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports. Solar flares are predicted to peak in 2013, and the increased activity by sunspot AR1654 could be an indicator of what’s to come the remainder of the year.
Concerns about the sunspot may have increased because of the change in direction. NOAA officials had this to say about the “geo-effectiveness” of the AR1654 explosions:
“This could be the sunspot that breaks the recent lengthy spell of calm space around our planet.”
The scientists also note that the sunspot stretches approximately 112,000 miles – the equivalent of 14 Earth diameters stretched from end to end, according to WND.
NOAA rates solar flares as A,C, M, and X-class eruptions. A-class solar flares are the smallest. Each letter in the solar flare scale represents a 10-fold increase. Some scientists feel that the AR1654 M-class solar flare poses a risk of becoming X-class flares.
A C-class explosion on the sun’s surface is reportedly too weak to affect life on Earth. An M-class solar storm has the power to cause temporary radio blackouts and small radiation storms that pose danger to astronauts.
The last truly powerful solar storm occurred in 2003. The sensors used to chart the solar flare overloaded and cut out. As previously reported by The Inquisitr, NASA has warned that if a massive solar flare directly hits Earth, up to $2 trillion in damage could occur during the first year after the storm. A full 10 years is estimated for a full recovery from such a massive coronal mass ejection.
Although a solar flare of such a magnitude is not believed to pose any danger to human health, casualties and civil unrest due to the country’s dependence on electric power are reportedly part of the X-class solar flare scenario.