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What causes sunspots and solar flares in the Sun?

Sunspots are areas that appear dark on the surface of the Sun. They appear dark because they are cooler than other parts of the Sun’s surface. Solar flares are a sudden explosion of energy caused by tangling, crossing or reorganizing of magnetic field lines near sunspots. These areas are called magnetic fields.

How are sunspots solar flares and prominences different?

Sunspots are cooler and darker than the rest of the Sun’s surface. They are marked by intense magnetic activity. Solar prominences are the plasma loops that connect two sunspots. Solar flares and coronal mass ejections are eruptions of highly energetic particles from the Sun’s surface.

What happens if a solar flare hits Earth?

The most powerful solar storms send coronal mass ejections (CMEs), containing charged particles, into space. If Earth happens to be in the path of a CME, the charged particles can slam into our atmosphere, disrupt satellites in orbit and even cause them to fail, and bathe high-flying airplanes with radiation.

Will gamma rays destroy the earth?

A nearby gamma-ray burst, beamed directly at Earth, is pretty unlikely. However, if one did occur, the amount of damage would depend on how close the burst is. With the gamma-rays beamed directly at Earth, the radiation would destroy a significant portion of our atmosphere, specifically the ozone layer.

How long does it take for a solar flare to hit Earth?

8 minutes and 4 days

How long does a solar cycle last?

around eleven years

What are the effects of solar flares?

Solar flares and CMEs send enormous amounts of energy and charged particles hurtling into collision with the Earth’s upper atmosphere, where they can cause geomagnetic storms. Charged particles during geomagnetic storms cause disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field, generating effects on electrical systems.

How do solar flares affect climate?

Solar flares don’t cause heat waves, but they do have other impacts on Earth. They can rain extra radiation on satellites, and increase the drag on satellites in low-Earth orbit. Increased electromagnetic activity due to solar storms can also disrupt power grids and radio communications.