The Sun has produced a whole bunch of solar flares this week
Sep 10, 2017, 08:07
Check out the flares below, thanks to observations from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory - a satellite that has been monitoring the Sun since 2010. Although solar radiation cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans, it can disrupt communications signals.
The Yomiuri Shimbun The National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has released a video of auroras that are believed to have appeared due to a solar flare - an explosion on the sun's surface - that occurred on Wednesday. Five categories - A, B, C, M and X - are used to rank solar flares based on their intensity.
Dr Aaron Reid, from Queen's University Belfast's Astrophysics Research Centre, said: "The sun is now in what we call solar minimum". So far the largest solar flare to erupt from the sun was in April 2001, and was classified as an X20. Despite the rare occurrence, cycle end flares tend to be more powerful and explosive.
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. As cycles approach its end, solar activity decline. A-Class flares are the weakest, while X-Class are the most energetic. NICT had initially projected the particles emitted by the flares would reach Earth between 3 p.m. and midnight on September 8. However, 3 hours later, a second flare erupted. Both are created when the sun's interior contorts its own magnetic fields-as the magnetic field snaps like a rubber band it releases a huge amount of energy into space.
This is the biggest flare recorded since September 2005, when a huge an X17 flare was emitted by the Sun. The magnetically filed activities result to an outward blast of energy that dramatically increases the solar surface temperature.
The harmful radiation of a flare can not pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans. However, intense explosions are capable of reaching the atmospheric layer which hosts Earth's Global Positioning System and communications signals.
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