Nature can be either our friend or foe, and it can even depend on how humans treat it. While the Sun has been pretty agitated lately, with a massive solar flare erupting a few days ago, researchers from China seem close to learning how to generate electricity from our star.
Newsweek now brings the concerning news that a new solar flare might be ejected from the Sun towards our planet. The possibility is invoked due to a spot known as AR3038 appearing at the surface of our star and becoming twice as big in just 24 hours.
Yesterday, sunspot AR3038 was big. Today, it’s enormous. The fast-growing sunspot has doubled in size in only 24 hours.
AR3038 has an unstable ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic field that harbors energy for M-class solar flares, and it is directly facing Earth.
NASA even announced back in February two new solar missions to study our star in more detail. Those missions are known as HelioSwarm and MUSE (Multi-slit Solar Explorer).
Thomas Zurbuchen from NASA explained more as SciTechDaily.com quotes:
MUSE and HelioSwarm will provide new and deeper insight into the solar atmosphere and space weather,
These missions not only extend the science of our other heliophysics missions—they also provide a unique perspective and a novel approach to understanding the mysteries of our star.
All we can do at this point is wait and see what the Sun will do. However, solar flares cannot pose a threat to humans. Instead, these phenomena have the potential to increase the ionization of the Earth’s atmosphere for a limited time. That can interfere with short-wave radio communication and expand the outer atmosphere as well as heat it up temporarily.
Luckily enough, the huge distance of 150 million kilometers that separates our planet from the Sun is big enough to keep us relatively safe from our star’s “hidden wrath.”