December 2, 2022

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The sun just released the strongest solar flare in nearly five years

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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of the solar flare, which can be seen at the lower right.

NASA/SDO

The sun unleashed a powerful side glow this week. The eruption It came from a sunspot on the western edge of our local star, and represents the strongest solar flare seen since 2017.

NASA agency The Sun Dynamics Observatory observed the explosion It’s 8:57 p.m. PT on Tuesday, causing a radio blackout to some shortwave, aviation, and other communications centered in Asia.

The glow is rated X2.2. Class X flares are the strongest class measured by scientists, and higher numbers following X represent an increase in burst power. NASA has logged a few X1 flares last year, but this is the most powerful one seen since the sun launched a pair of monster X-class flares, including the X9, in the second week of September 2017.

The strongest glow ever observed was beyond the X28, in 2003.

The final explosion was accompanied by a coronal mass ejection, which is slower-moving charged plasma and can create gorgeous auroras when it hits the Earth’s magnetic field. But because the volcanic eruption occurred on the side of the Sun from Earth’s perspective, those particles were not directed in our direction and would not hit our planet.

On the other hand, the energy from the glow moves at the speed of light and spreads in all directions throughout the solar system, which is why it dimmed the radio at the same time that the glow could be seen.

The Big Bang is the latest indication that our current solar cycle is heating up. Our star experiences regular periods of high sunspot activity and flares roughly every decade or so. We are currently building toward the peak of activity that will come in the mid-2000s.

Our magnetosphere prevents radioactive explosions from harming life on Earth, but it poses a danger to our satellites, communications systems, astronauts in space, and even the electrical grid on Earth.

Widespread blackouts have been caused by flares in recent decades, but this is the first time we’re approaching the peak of solar activity with thousands of new satellites in orbit. earlier this year, SpaceX reported that the torch was basically fried A number of Starlink satellites.

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