Sunspots are temporary magnetic disturbances in the surface of the Sun. They are cooler (6,700° F) and darker than the surrounding photosphere, which usually hovers around 10,300° F. As of July 23rd, a sunspot group, collectively named sunspot 652, is pointed directly at Earth. Sunspot 652 has grown 20 times larger than our planet and can be seen with the naked eye. If this sunspot should let loose, it could produce severe space weather.
"The implications of this spot have scientists on the edge of their seats," NASA said in a statement Friday. "If the active region generates coronal mass ejections (CMEs), massive explosions with a potential force of a billion megaton bombs, it will be a fairly direct hit to Earth and its satellites and power grids." Read more at Space.com(1).
Image credit: SOHO/MDI