The sun’s wrath: Worst solar storms in history
(opens in new tab)Should the sunspot blast out a coronal mass ejection, or CME, of charged particles that faces our planet, it’s possible those particles will interact with our magnetic field and create colorful lights in our atmosphere, known as auroras.
However, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Space Weather Prediction Center (opens in new tab), which monitors solar flares and other outbursts, has not issued any current aurora alerts for Earth.
The sun has been particularly active this spring, sending out many M-class and X-class (the strongest class) flares as activity grows in the regular 11-year cycle of sunspots.
Typically, CMEs are harmless, perhaps producing brief radio blackouts along with the colorful auroras. On rare occasions, CMEs can disturb essential infrastructure like satellites or power lines, however.
That’s why both NASA and NOAA monitor the sun all the time. Additionally, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe mission is flying very close to the sun periodically to learn more about the origins of sunspots and to better understand the space weather the sun creates.
Originally published at www.space.com