Effect of Latitude of Sunspots on Earth-Intersecting Trajectory of Plasma

Document Type : Research Paper


University of Detroit Mercy


Solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections form around the edges of sunspots. If the plasma from such events is incident on the Earth’s magnetosphere, significant disruptions to electrical systems can occur. However, sunspots occur around the surface of the Sun and don’t always produce plasma that reaches the Earth. The latitude and longitude of the source of the plasma on the Sun will be evaluated to determine the likelihood that random events will intersect with the Earth. The size of the typical plasma balloon will be found to find its path. Comparing data from locations of sunspots to data of Earth’s orbit will provide a likelihood of incidence based on latitude or origin. The latitudes of sunspot centroids vary significantly through the solar cycle as they tend to migrate from mid-latitudes towards the equator. Sunspots from all latitudes are capable of producing plasma that reaches the Earth. However, as a solar event rotates in longitude away from the Earth, events at higher latitudes are less likely to have a trajectory that intersects the Earth. From analysis, 27% of dangerous events on the Sun should have trajectories towards Earth. The latitude has a small effect on this. It was determined that that the plasma balloon released from the Sun had a large spread of impact. Plasma from all latitudes could reach the Earth. However, if the Sun is rotated away, the combined effects of latitude and longitude can make the plasma trajectory pointed away from Earth.


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