Giant Sunspot Unleashes 2 More Powerful Solar Flares

Sep 08, 2017, 00:44
Giant Sunspot Unleashes 2 More Powerful Solar Flares

The level of activity happening on the sun is deemed unusual, as it is nearing its low point in the 11-year solar cycle it takes from being an active to a quiet star. On Sept. 6, 2017, morning, when blasted energy super-heated the solar surface because of twists up and reconnects in sun's magnetic field, blue planet received two solar flares.

Solar storms can make satellites and power grids on Earth go a little wonky.

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A solar flare is created when the Sun's magnetic field experiences a disturbance, resulting in the release of high-energy radiation.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spotted intense solar flares this week. The solar flare was so powerful that it caused high-frequency radio blackouts on the dayside of the Earth for the duration of about an hour. During the Sun's rotation, the magnetic loops become wrapped becoming tighter as the rotation progresses.

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Solar particles that make it to atmosphere can have a dramatic effect on neutral molecules, causing them to glow. Of the two, the latter was the strongest solar flare we've observed from the Sun since one that occurred December 5, 2006. A flare, which is a localized explosion of light and particles on the Sun, can also trigger a secondary blast of particles into interplanetary space. In 2005, a massive X17 flare erupted. The largest solar flare ever recorded was an X20 in April 2001.

While C-class flares are strong, they don't represent any concern for Earth or near-Earth space. Scientists are still watching to see if a CME is making its way toward the Earth.

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The Sun may not be done yet, either - the large group of sunspots, which is visible through a protective solar filter (including those solar eclipse glasses you may still have lying around), has already sent out other, weaker M-class flares. The flare was so strong it was able to cause shortwave radio blackouts over Africa, Europe, and across the Atlantic Ocean. They could still be responsible for additional flares in the coming days.

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