Astronomers have warned of the possibility of a powerful solar storm, after spotting a pair of huge sunspots, some of them large enough to devour the entire Earth.
Sunspots are dark areas of the sun, which are cooler than other parts of the surface, and solar flares arise near these dark areas.
During the past few days, astronomers monitored two active regions known as AR2993 and AR2994, which contain a number of sunspots.
Solar flares and coronal emissions come from these regions, and when they explode toward Earth, they can create magnetic storms, which could pose a threat to power grids and satellites.
Sunspots are formed due to magnetic disturbances in the photosphere of the sun, exposing the cooler layers below, which appear as a black spot, to pressure.
Solar flares can erupt in these regions, sending plasma and charged particles out into space, some of which are headed toward Earth.
When these charged particles reach Earth, flowing through the magnetic field, the aurora is formed, but this can also lead to power outages and Internet problems.
According to scientists, the recent increase in the sun's activity is the result of its approaching the most active phase of its 11-year solar cycle, knowing that its peak will be in 2024, according to the British newspaper, "Daily Mail", quoting the scientific website "Live Science".
According to astrophysicist Dean Besnell, "multiple solar flares and coronal emissions are typical at this point in the solar cycle."
"Studies have shown that the level of solar activity currently taking place is about the same as it was 11 years ago, during the same point in the previous cycle," Besnell added.
For its part, the Space Weather Prediction Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration explained that the plasma formed will not hit the Earth, pointing out that flares and coronal emissions will become more frequent during the next few years, which raises the level of risks from solar activity.