Powerful plasma burst hit Earth last weekend

Powerful plasma burst hit Earth last weekend


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(Web Desk) - The new activity could be tied to a cluster of sunspots so large that it is more than 15 times the size of Earth

The new activity could be tied to a cluster of sunspots so large that it is more than 15 times the size of Earth

While everyone else was coming down off their Thanksgiving food high last weekend, the sun was convulsing, releasing a series of violent outbursts.

And more explosive activity may be on the horizon — and Earth could be caught in the crosshairs.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which tracks space weather, reported several moderate geomagnetic storms over the holiday weekend, starting on Nov. 25.

The storms were the result of the sun letting go of a huge, powerful bolt of plasma, an explosion known as a Coronal Mass Ejection.

These blasts hurl highly charged plasma from the sun into Earth's atmosphere, disturbing our magnetic field and, on occasion, they can cause radio blackouts and affect our power grids.

They also spark beautiful auroras, including this one seen over Fairbanks, Alaska on Monday.

There may be some more tempestuous weather coming our way.

While NOAA’s space forecast indicates very low possibilities of geomagnetic or solar radiation storms tonight, astrophysicist C. Alex Young reported on the blog EarthSky that another CME appears to have exploded off the sun and may be headed towards our planet.

If a new burst of plasma does, indeed, strike the Earth, its possible skywatchers will be treated to some pretty spectacular auroras in the coming days.

The uptick in solar activity may have something to do with an unusual number of sunspots that were spotted last week.

Sunspots are areas of the sun where concentrated magnetic fields lead to temperatures that are relatively cool compared to the inferno surrounding them.

The sunspot region that’s developed recently is so large that it’s around 15 times wider than the Earth and is causing the entire sun to vibrate differently, according to Space.com.

And it's even possible this is the new normal: Solar activity fluctuates according to 11-year cycles, and the sun is currently reaching a new solar maximum — that's the moment in the cycle when the sun's magnetic activity hits a crescendo.

In fact, 2023 has already seen activity that far exceeded predictions.

Some scientists believe Earth is overdue for a massive solar storm, the likes of which haven't been seen for over 150 years.