Big sunspot region AR2936 has quadrupled in size

January 30, 2022: A big sunspot now facing Earth – called AR2936 – has quadrupled in size in only 48 hours.

 It’s now one of the largest active regions of Solar Cycle 25, which is currently on the rise. 

As the sunspot turns toward Earth, the chance of an Earth-directed flare is increasing. 

In other words, there’s a chance of large flares on the sun and a possible subsequent Earth-directed coronal mass ejection or CME. 

 Such events are powerful eruptions near the surface of the sun driven by kinks in the solar magnetic field.

The resulting shocks ripple through the solar system and can interrupt satellites and power grids on Earth.

They can also cause beautiful displays of the aurora borealis, or northern lights, which can sometimes reach into low latitudes like those in the northern United States.