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Massive sunspot that has DOUBLED in size in recent days could send solar storms careering toward Earth

Earth-bound: This February 12, 2012 handout image provided by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the double-barreled sunspot active region 1416, which is aimed at the Earth

A massive double-barrelled sunspot that has doubled in size in the past few days could now send a series of solar flares towards Earth.
Though the severity of the disruption is yet unknown, some scientists are predicting the spot could send off medium-scale solar flares.
These could cause radio blackouts and disruptions in the Earth’s polar regions.

Massive growth: The sunspot has been doubling in size over the past couple of days and now has the potential to shoot significant eruptions in Earth's direction
According to, the sunspot in active region 1416 could send out ‘beta-gamma’ magnetic energy in what is known as an M-class flare.
Though M-class flares aren’t nearly as dangerous as X-class flares, which affect satellites and electrical grids as well as lasting radiation storms, people could still notice minor inconveniences such as radio disturbances.
M-class flares can also cause the aurora borealis to erupt in dazzling light shows.

SpaceWeather’s Tony Phillips wrote: ‘Any such eruptions this weekend would be Earth-directed as the sunspot turns to face our planet.’
On Friday, the sun emitted a coronal mass ejection, known as CME, in the shape of a heart.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported: ‘A preliminary model run predicts this CME will arrive, appropriately enough, on Valentine’s Day.’

According to, the NOAA forecasts that there is a 50 per cent chance of a Class M flare within the next 24-48 hours.
MSNBC’s Cosmic Log said that various space organizations are keeping their eye on the sunspot’s development, as the sun’s activity is rising.
Scientists predict the sun will reach its 11-year zenith in 2013, and expect a rising amount of solar activity to come.

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