THE SOLAR DARK SPOT(Sun Spots) AND THEIR EFFECTS ON THE EARTH
The sun being the nearest star of our planet has been a case study for physicists and astronomers alike for decades and centuries.There are a lots of interesting facts about this giant star among which the Sunspots are quite intriguing,and things that catch a beholder’s eyes at the instant he or she gazes at the sun through a telescope.
Sunspots are darker and cooler areas on the sun’s photo-sphere having a diameter of approximately 50,000km. The sunspots have around 3000-4500K of temperature which is way less than its surrounding materials which are approximately 5780K. The darker regions are called central umbra and the lighter regions are called penumbra.Now the question arises how these sunspots are actually formed.
CAUSE OF OCCURENCE:
The sunspots are caused by interactions with sun’s magnetic field.They are also magnetic in nature whose magnitude is 2500 times the magnitude of magnetic field on the earth.This amount of magnetic field creates immense magnetic pressure resulting in the decrease of surrounding atmospheric pressure.Consequently surrounding temperature also decreases as the concentrated magnetic field makes hot new gas flow from the sun’s interior to its surface or photo-sphere. An interesting fact is that if the sunspots are isolated from their surrounding bright photo-sphere,then it would be brighter than the moon!
Besides sunspots there occur a couple of phenomena called solar flares and coronal mass ejections which are huge explosions on the surface of the sun.These flares are almost some several million degrees and release energy equivalent to billion megatons of TNT(Trinitrotoluene,generally used as explosives).
EFFECTS OF SUNSPOT AND SOLAR FLARES ON THE EARTH:
The bombardment of X-rays and magnetic fields from the emission of solar flares hits the earth as geomagnetic storms which doesn’t have any good consequences as this increase in geomagnetic storm activity can disrupt radio transmissions and power grids on the surface of the earth.When the sunspots are active,they can result in increase of Northern lights(Aurora Borialis) and Southern lights(Aurora Australis) on the polar regions of earth.These flares can also induce change in the polarity in satelites consequently damaging electronics.
When the sunspot is maximum active,it can slightly increase the energy output from the sun.Another interesting fact is that it’s evident from a research that the minimum sunspot activity called the Maunder Minimum during 1645-1715 caused the “Little Ice Age” on most parts of the earth,when temperatures in Europe and North America really dipped down.During this time,the sun went through a period of near zero sunspot activity.But it’s not clear whether the sunspot activity has any bearing on the temperature or climate change on our planet.In fact,research says that the green gas emissions and other reasons created by the man himself are more harmful to the earth’s atmosphere than the solar flares.
Learn about gravity waves click here.
Author: Som Abhishek