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Image courtesy NASA/SOHO.
Sunspots and space weather storms
News story originally written on October 24, 2003
Two very large groups of sunspots have
appeared on the Sun. Each of the groups is about
as big as the planet Jupiter, which is the largest planet in our Solar System!
Sunspots are places on the Sun where the Sun's magnetic
field is all tangled up. These tangled
magnetic fields create storms called solar
flares and CMEs. Some storms from
these two big sunspot groups reached Earth on
Friday, 24 October 2003.
When a space weather storm like this reaches Earth, the radiation from the
storm can cause problems. The storm can damage
satellites and might even make
the electricity go out. Don't worry, though - Earth's
magnetic field does a
pretty good job of protecting us from the radiation. The storms also have a
good side - they create the Northern Lights!
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