NASA has identified a giant sunspot on the Sun that will likely continue to grow and move across the surface until it faces Earth next week.
Experts have warned that the dark region, cooler than the surrounding area, could trigger high-energy explosions that could cripple our planet’s power grids.
The sunspot’s exact dimensions are unknown, but NASA’s Perseverance rover has captured images of the spot, which is more than 150 million miles from the sun.
The rover watched the sunspot from August 17th to 20th.
The exact dimensions of the sunspot are unknown, but NASA’s rover was able to take pictures of it while it was more than 150 million miles from the sun
‘BWith Mars orbiting over the far side of the Sun, Perseverance can spot approaching sunspots more than a week ahead of us. “Consider this your week-long warning: A big sunspot is coming,” Spaceweather said in a statement blog entry.
The animated images show a faint sun hanging in the blackness of space, with a blurred, dark formation moving across its surface.
“It takes a large sunspot to show up in these low-resolution images,” Spaceweather shared.
Sunspots form when the Sun’s magnetic field is about 2,500 times stronger than Earth’s.
Due to the strong magnetic field, the magnetic pressure increases while the surrounding atmospheric pressure decreases.
This lowers the temperature compared to the surrounding environment as the concentrated magnetic field prevents the flow of hot, new gas from the Sun’s interior to the surface.
The animated images show a faint sun hanging in the blackness of space, with a blurred, dark formation moving across its surface
And sunspots appear dark because they’re at least 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the surrounding area.
However, the sun’s outer atmosphere can reach more than a million degrees.
NASA released stunning images of our giant star in February, showing the range of temperatures around it.
With the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), the US space agency has captured various X-rays emitted by the hottest matter in our star’s atmosphere.
High-energy X-rays were observed in only a few places, while low-energy X-rays and ultraviolet light were detected over the entire surface of the gas ball.
Scientists hope the new views will help them solve one of the sun’s biggest mysteries: why its outer atmosphere reaches more than a million degrees — at least 100 times hotter than its surface.