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Massive Sunspot Four Times the Size of Earth Is Now Visible Without a Telescope



The size of one of the sun’s sunspots has increased to the point that it can be seen from Earth without the need of magnification; nevertheless, eye protection is still clearly recommended while viewing it.

It is no longer necessary to use a telescope in order to see sunspot AR3310 from Earth since its size has increased to the point where it is now visible with the naked eye. An image of the sunspot, with a little Earth superimposed on it, was released on the internet by a South Korean astronomer by the name of Bum-Suk Yeom.

“Naked-Eye Sunspot using Solar Glasses (or Solar Filter),” Yeom said in an Instagram post sharing the image. “A giant sunspot, visible to the naked eye, is crossing the sun’s disk. A [sunspot] can be seen to the left of the center of the solar disk.”

Sunspots are patches of darkness that appear on the surface of the sun and are created by concentrations of magnetic fields that are exceptionally strong and twisted. If these fields are strong enough, they prevent part of the heat from the sun’s core from reaching its atmosphere, which results in the surface of the sun being colder and seeming darker than normal.

Sometimes sunspots are big enough that they may be seen with the naked eye, however you should still use eye protection since the sun’s glare can be rather intense.

“The minimal visibility threshold is estimated as [roughly] 425 millionths of the visible solar disk—0.04 percent of the solar disk—whereas larger sunspot area and favorable meteorological conditions improve their visibility,” Hisashi Hayakawa, a solar physicist at Japan’s Nagoya University told Newsweek.

On Tuesday, observers saw sunspot AR3310 located in the bottom center of the solar disk. This sunspot has grown to such a magnitude that it can now be seen from Earth even without the use of a telescope. NASA SOLAR DYNAMICS OBSERVATORY/SDO

Only around one hundred sixty nine millionths of the solar disk is covered by Earth’s surface area. Sunspot AR3310 is around four times the size of Earth, according to Bum-Suk..

In most cases, solar flares and coronal mass ejections originate from sunspots due to the magnetic activity they generate. When the sun erupts, X-rays are emitted in the form of solar flares, which are like the muzzle flash.

CMEs are the magic wand; they are very fast-moving plasma and magnetic field plumes from the sun. Auroras may be seen in the middle latitudes and radio communications can be disrupted if any of these solar ejections makes contact with Earth and sets off a geomagnetic storm.

The number of sunspots changes during the course of the sun’s 11-year solar cycle. The sun has much more sunspots and higher solar activity at the solar maximum compared to the solar minimum some six to eight years later. Since its discovery in 1755, 25 of these activity cycles have been documented. According to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, the next solar maximum is not expected until 2025, while the previous solar low was in 2019.

However, it seems that the current solar cycle has fared higher than expected. For nearly 24 months in a row, Solar Cycle 25 has exceeded expectations, with sunspot counts getting close to those recorded at the previous cycle’s peak.

“Sunspots are areas where the magnetic field is about 2,500 times stronger than Earth’s, much higher than anywhere else on the Sun,” the National Weather Service explains. “Because of the strong magnetic field, the magnetic pressure increases while the surrounding atmospheric pressure decreases.  This in turn lowers the temperature relative to its surroundings because the concentrated magnetic field inhibits the flow of hot, new gas from the Sun’s interior to the surface. “

The sun spot is clearly visible. Credit: NASA
The sun spot is clearly visible. Credit: NASA

If you want proof of this, simply ask any pirate: the presence of a black spot is almost never a positive omen.

These specific spots don’t pose a threat on their own, but they may be an indicator of something more sinister that could come, like a powerful solar flare that could disrupt electronics, or in a worse case, knock out the power grid.

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