NASA captures images of strong solar flares

09 September, 2017, 12:21 | Author: Patsy Dennis
  • The sun just belched out the strongest solar flare in 12 years

Yesterday, that same sunspot emitted an M-class solar flare - one-tenth the size of an X-class flare - leading to a coronal mass ejection aimed toward Earth that could cause auroras tonight as far south as OH and Indiana.

As NASA pointed out, when magnetic fields rise up from below the sun's surface, they eventually poke through, creating cool, dark patches on the sun.

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The first flare was seen at 6:15 a.m. EDT and the second, larger flare, peaked at 10:36 a.m. EDT Sept. 7, NASA reported. In spite of the intensive solar activity over the last few days, harmful radiation from a flare can not pass through the atmospheric "shield" of the Earth, NASA's specialists say.

The images were captured by Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory. According to Daily Mail, the powerful solar explosions originated in one of the Sun's active region. On an average, solar cycles last for up to 11 years.

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Solar flares are caused by massive releases of energy on the Sun's surface, which eject clouds of electrons, ions and atoms. Despite the rare occurrence, cycle end flares tend to be more powerful and explosive. Measuring the strength of flares is similar to the use of the Richter scale for natural disaster magnitude.

A series of solar flares blasted waves of radiation and solar plasma toward Earth this week, and the geomagnetic storms that could result have the potential to damage orbiting satellites and disrupt communications on Earth. X-class solar flares can cause radiation storms in Earth's upper atmosphere and trigger radio blackouts, as happened earlier this morning.

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Gases from the flares are expected to reach the Earth between 3 p.m. and midnight on September 8, possibly impacting the global positioning system and shortwave communications used to contact aircraft, according to the NICT. Hence, they have no physical effect on humans on the ground. A-Class flares are the weakest, while X-Class are the most energetic.

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