Solar storm warning: Air traffic facing disruption as huge sunspot turns to face Earth

Solar Storm: Weather chart shows global movement

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Experts have warned that a massive solar spot on the far side of the Sun is facing us this weekend, which could result in a potential geomagnetic storm that disrupts satellites, and even causes chaos in airline navigation systems. These sunspots as they are known, appear darker than their surrounding on the surface of the Sun, and can stretch for hundreds millions of miles.

Sunpots are a result of magnetic disruptions in the photosphere — the lowest layer of the sun’s atmosphere — with these disturbances exposing the cooler layers of the star underneath.

According to experts at Spaceweather.com, the sunspot is “so big it is changing the way the sun vibrates.”

If the Sun’s darkened region lashes out by releasing a solar flare towards Earth, it could affect the Earth’s magnetic field, and cause disruptions in GPS and communication satellites that orbit close to the planet, as well as affecting airplane navigation systems.

The US based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center predicted that over the weekend, the geomagnetic field around Earth would be unsettled.

This prediction suggests that regions in the higher northern latitudes could see dazzling auroras, although it is unclear whether it will turn into a full-blown solar storm. 

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