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Large Sunspot Region Developing ‘Beta-Gamma’ Magnetic Field Facing Earth

A large sunspot has grown into a beta-gamma magnetic classification, which is linked to solar flares, and is rotating over the Earth-facing side of the sun.

A few days ago, the sunspot known as AR3068 was first spotted rotating into view over the eastern horizon of the sun. Since then, it has gotten bigger.

Because of strong magnetic fields that prevent heat from rising up beneath the surface, sunspots are areas in the sun’s atmosphere that aren’t quite as hot as the surrounding areas. Sunspots are dark because they are relatively cool.

Sunspots are known to be sources of solar flares and other material eruptions known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) due to the strong magnetic fields associated with them. When the magnetic field lines abruptly change or realign, these explosions take place.

Fundamentally, electromagnetic radiation flashes are what solar flares are. They can cause damage to the ionosphere, a region of Earth’s atmosphere, when they arrive. High frequency radio communications depend on the ionosphere because radio waves bounce off of it as they travel the globe. High frequency radio communications can also be hampered by disruptions.

There are five different classifications for flares. These are A, B, C, M, and X, with X being the most powerful and A being the least powerful. Only flares in the M- to X-class are typically noteworthy.

However, there is no reason to worry. Solar flares frequently occur, and even powerful ones hardly ever significantly disrupt the majority of people.

The sunspot AR3068 has also moved past the point where it was directly facing Earth and is now moving towards the western side of the sun, where it will soon disappear from view, even though it is still on the side of the sun that is facing Earth.

But recently, experts have noticed that AR3068 has changed into a particular kind of sunspot.

Based on the polarity of their magnetic field(s), sunspots are given what is known as a magnetic classification. The simplest class is the alpha class, in which the polarity of the sunspot is constant throughout. There are several distinct polarities present in beta sunspots. According to the solar activity website Space Weather Live, these two categories account for more than half of all sunspots.

Other sunspots become more complicated, making it impossible to draw a boundary between spots with different polarities. The type of sunspot that AR3068 has evolved into is referred to as a beta-gamma sunspot.

Beta-gamma sunspots are among those that are “very closely related to the eruption of solar flares,” according to a study published in June 2021. According to Space Weather Live, AR3068 has a 10% chance of producing an M-class flare and a 30% chance of producing a C-class flare.

The sunspot is almost directly facing Earth today, according to the space weather analysis website, so any explosions will be geoeffective.

In either case, it is unlikely that either of these will endanger or disrupt Earth in any way.


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