Nasa captures the strongest solar flares of the past decade

Nasa captures the strongest solar flares of the past decade

Nasa captures the strongest solar flares of the past decade

The sun has unleashed two massive solar flares, the second of which is the strongest flare in over a decade, said Sansa's Catherine Webster. The X-class solar flares are the most powerful flares.

During large solar flares, the sun can also sling a cloud of energetic plasma from its body, an event called a coronal mass ejection (CME).

Watching on the morning of Wednesday 6 September, the space agency's 'Solar Dynamics Observatory' captured images of a particularly active region on the sun firing off the fourth and fifth "sizeable" flares in the last week.

According to National Institute of Polar Research associate professor Ryuho Kataoka, there was also a smaller solar flare at about 5 a.m. on September 5, Japan time. However, 3 hours later, a second flare erupted.

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Solar flares explode when the magnetic field of the sun twists and reconnects.

Solar flares are classified according to strength using the letters A, B, C, M and X. The magnetically filed activities result to an outward blast of energy that dramatically increases the solar surface temperature. Sansa said the initial burst of radiation from the solar flares was so intense, it caused high frequency radio blackouts across the daytime side of Earth affecting HF communication over Africa, Europe and the Atlantic Ocean.

The orbiting Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency, is now out of contact with Earth because of its location, so observers will not be able to see any coronal mass ejections caused by this morning's flares until 10:30 p.m. EDT (1830 GMT), Battams wrote on Twitter. "The impact of the space weather storm will not harm humans and other life forms on Earth as we are protected by the Earth's magnetic field", Sansa said. "However - when intense enough - they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where Global Positioning System and communications signals travel", a NASA statement said.

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