The massive sunspot on the sun's surface has been unusually calm this week, prompting some astronomers to fear that a large solar eruption is brewing.
Former NASA astronomer Dr. Tony Phillips writes on SpaceWeather.com, "Could it be the quiet before the storm?"
The sunspot AR3089 has been quiet, but that doesn't mean it's going away. Rather, "it has generated a delta-class magnetic field that stores energy for X-class solar flares," according to Phillips.
That is the most powerful type of flare, although there is a lot of variance within the X-class, which can produce as much energy as a billion hydrogen bombs at its most intense.
the tremendous output of Earth's magnetosphere does not affect us biologically
X Flares and the coronal mass ejections that are frequently linked with them can cause radiation storms that can damage satellites, affect communications systems on Earth.
The strongest flare ever recorded is claimed to have occurred in 2003 and was estimated to be around X40, though sensors measuring it cut out around X16.