Solar Flare Captured in Stunning NASA Footage

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Solar flare
Courtesy of CMDR CVLANG (Flickr CC0)

NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded powerful solar flare footage that erupted from a sunspot.

Sunspots are sites on the sun’s surface where the magnetic fields are 2,500 times stronger than the Earth’s and created by the outpouring of electrical charges, tangle into locks before suddenly snapping. The radiation episodes are solar flares and fierce rushes of solar material called coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

Solar Flares are classified by the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) from A to X based on X-ray intensities they release which is ten times the intensity of the last. This solar flare was recorded as X1.1; the second was of the same strength this week and the third this year. On April 19, the sun tossed an X2.2 solar flare and an X1.3 on March 30.

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.

Solar Flare
Courtesy of Paul Williams (Flickr (CC0)

Once they reach Earth, the ultraviolet radiation and X-rays ionize particles in our upper aura, making it unattainable to reflect high-frequency radio waves from them and creating a radio blackout according to the stringency from R1 to R5. This most current solar flare caused an R3 blackout over the Atlantic Ocean during Easter weekend, which was the same strength over Asia and Australia last month.

The sun seemed to be awakening as it pushed steadily towards the extreme projected solar activity in 2025 before plunging again.

Recently, a high solar activity has doubled sunspot counts instead of those forecasted by NOAA. These activities slam X-ray bursts and high-energy plasma into Earth’s magnetic fields, trigger radio blackouts, down Starlink satellites, and compel auroras to heighten and become observable as far as Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Iowa. This solar flares activity transpires when the Earth’s magnetic field is slightly crammed by the highly energetic wave particles and churn molecules in the atmosphere and form colorful lights within the evening sky.

Written by Janet Grace Ortigas

Sources:
Live Science: Huge solar flare captured in stunning NASA image as it fires off from the sun; by Ben Turner
Space: Sun fires off huge solar flare from new sunspot coming into view; by Elizabeth Howell
Media Automate: Large photo voltaic flare captured in beautiful NASA picture because it fires off from the solar

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Images by CMDR CVLANG’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Paul Williams‘ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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