Nasa has detected two X-class solar eruptions from 1302 – the most extreme possible – in the past week. One that occurred on September 24 produced an amazing light show over England last night – but it’s far from over, as the sunspot isn’t yet directly aligned with Earth.
NASA experts have said 'anything electrical' can be affected by such activity.
Hot stuff: The behemoth sunspot 1302 has been unleashing huge solar flares
Well spotted: Active Region 1302 as seen from the Earth
Known as ‘Active Region 1302’, it is producing bursts of radiation so intense that spectacular auroras, caused by the sun’s particles hitting the atmosphere, have been seen as far south as Oxfordshire.
Astronomer Dr Ian Griffin, CEO of Science Oxford, told MailOnline: ‘Active Region 1302 is the source of all of the auroras seen yesterday, and may well be the source of some more auroras over the next few nights.
‘Space-weather forecasters estimate a 40 per cent chance of more flares during the next 24 hours. Any such eruptions would be Earth-directed as the sunspot crosses the centre of the solar disk.
Way to glow: The aurora over Ludgershall in Buckinghamshire last night
‘In short, with no moon in the sky, and an active region on the sun, the next few nights might be very interesting for sky-watchers in Britain.’
There is some danger, too, that the solar activity will disrupt communication systems, especially in upper latitudes such as northern Canada and Scandinavia.
A sunspot occurs when strong magnetic fields on the sun reach the surface and cool down, according to Nasa. Large ones can be seen clearly using telescopes and powerful cameras.
The intense magnetic activity in a sunspot often produces solar flares - the bigger the sunspot, the bigger and more intense the flare.
The diameter of AR 1302 has been measured at a whopping 62,000 miles, several times bigger than Earth.
Read more: Earth in cross-hairs of huge solar storm caused by sunspot 1302 | Mail Online