Despite everything that has been learned about the Sun, Earth's home star remains mysterious. The Sun is about to become more irritable after how many years of relative calm. A fleet of sun-gazing satellites is poised to watch it awaken due to solar flares.

This week, the Science Times reported on a solar storm and flare approaching towards Earth. Here's why scientists are so interested in the Sun's mood.

 Huge Solar Flare Capture Erupting From the Sun's Surface In New NASA Video
(Photo : Wikimedia Commons)
Extreme ultraviolet light streams out of an X-class solar flare as seen in this image captured on March 29, 2014, by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. This image blends two wavelengths of light: 304 and 171 Angstroms, which help scientists observe the lower levels of the sun's atmosphere.

Solar Flare Could Affect Earth's Ozone Layer

The scientific community is divided on how much solar activity can or does impact Earth's climate. According to Weather.gov, there is evidence that the Earth's climate is sensitive to extremely small variations in the Sun's energy output across time scales of tens to hundreds of years. However, these solar flares can influence the ozone layer. Completely draining it would need a never-before-seen storm.

Satellite data obtained by Syfy shows that a solar flare in 2000 destroyed around 1 percent of the overall ozone layer, with most of it in the high atmosphere. Anthropogenic climate change poses the greatest threat to the ozone layer. Our usage of CFCs has depleted the ozone layer by around 5 percent to 6 percent to date, and it might have been considerably worse.

Furthermore, climate change has caused the drastic loss of the ozone layer on our planet at least once before, wreaking havoc. Ozone collapsed due to rapid warming near the end of the Devonian epoch, 359 million years ago, enabling dangerous radiation to reach the surface.

Another extinction-level catastrophe involving the depletion of the ozone layer isn't out of the question, but the source is unlikely to be from space. When it comes to the threat of climate calamity, the alarm is being raised from within the home.

Solar Flare, Sunspot Explained

According to The Independent, solar flares are essentially massive explosions on the Sun's surface, with the amount of energy released comparable to millions of nuclear bombs going off at the same time. Scientists commonly view them using x-rays and optical light, and they can endure anywhere from minutes to hours.

Solar flares reach the corona, the Sun's outer layer, which is made up of rarefied gas that may reach temperatures of up to 100 million degrees.

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Flares are classified into four categories: background-level A-class flares, B, C, M, and X-class flares, which are the most powerful; similar to the Richter scale, each letter is 10 times more strong than the one before it, thus an M-class flare is ten times more powerful than a C-class flare.

Sunspots, Daily Mail said, are black patches on the Sun's surface that are colder than the rest of the planet (albeit still very hot, at roughly 6,500°F).

Sunspots arise where the Sun's magnetic fields are exceptionally strong. Surprisingly, these sunspots can grow to reach several times the size of the entire Earth.

Active zones on the Sun are created by powerful magnetic fields around sunspots, which regularly generate disruptions such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

Here's What Happens if Solar Storm, Flare Further Penetrates Earth

Washington Post said large-scale power outages might result, damaging wide swathes of communications and infrastructure. These events are uncommon, but as the world becomes more reliant on digital and electrical technology, the risk of a catastrophic disaster grows. Large-scale disruptions have occurred in the past.

On August 7, 1972, one of the last geomagnetic storms with a large influence on Earth occurred. A gigantic solar flare erupted from the Sun's surface by unleashing an enormous magnetic storm, damaging radio waves, communications networks, and electrical systems.

One solar flare was large enough to exceed NOAA's charts during a time of strong solar activity in October and November 2003. In 1989, the whole province of Quebec in Canada had a nine-hour power outage. Geomagnetic storms reportedly stunned telegraph operators and set some telegraph cables on fire in 1859, in what is known as the Carrington Event.

If sunspots are active, more solar flares will trigger stronger geomagnetic storm activities for Earth. Sunspot maximus increases the Northern and Southern lights.

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