Huge spot on Sun generating powerful flares turns away from the Earth: When will it return and when should we expect next solar storms?

May 16, 2024  22:33

Sunspot AR3664, which is about 15 times larger than Earth, has finally turned away from our planet, finally triggering two more powerful X-class solar storms.

The storm at 4:37 am on May 15 was assessed at X3.4, and the next one, at 10:38 am, at X2.9. Both storms were accompanied by coronal mass ejections (CMEs)—ejections of gigantic volumes of solar matter from the solar atmosphere into interplanetary space. Because sunspot AR3664 was facing Earth at the time, these CMEs crashed into our planet, intensifying auroras and causing radio blackouts in some places.

Because AR3664 has now turned away from our planet, any CMEs emanating from the sunspot will no longer have a direct impact on us, according to experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC).

When will we see this spot again?

It takes the sun about 25 Earth days to complete one rotation on its axis, so after some time we will most likely see this spot again. In addition, the Sun may turn toward Earth with other sunspot clusters, which will also cause powerful solar storms and coronal mass ejections. True, these spots may not be as large and “evil” as AR3664.

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