The Swedish Solar Telescope Found the Sun's Largest Flare in 12 Years

The Swedish Solar Telescope Found the Sun's Largest Flare in 12 Years

Solar flares occur when the sun's magnetic field - which creates the dark sunspots on the star's surface - twists up and reconnects, blasting energy outward and super-heating the solar surface.

The flare was one of three X-category flares - the largest type of flare - observed over 48 hour period, they said.

Two of the other recent flares were also X-class, including Wednesday's (Sept. 6) X9.3 flare, the strongest solar blast in 12 years. The last X9 flare occurred in 2006 (coming in at X9.0).

"The Sun is now in what we call solar minimum", says Aaron Reid, from Queen's University Belfast's Astrophysics Research Centre.

Like many powerful flares, Sunday's was accompanied by a coronal mass ejection (CME), a huge cloud of superheated solar plasma that races through space at millions of miles per hour.

More news: BMW's new electric auto concept boasts 100km launch of 4 seconds

The X8, 2-class flare is the capstone of a series of flares from Active Region 2673, which was first identified on August 29 and is rotating from the front of the sun. "These observations can tell us how and why these flares formed so we can better predict them in the future", said Reid.

Since flares spring forth in a matter of minutes, it can be hard to observe the beginning of their formation.

"We can only observe about 1/250th of the solar surface at any one time using the Swedish Solar Telescope, so to be in the right place at the right time requires a lot of luck". These observations can help astronomers better predict solar storms in advance, to help astronauts and organizations prepare for any disruptions.

The team observed these historic events in extremely high detail using the Swedish Solar Telescope in La Palma.

At its peak, the solar flare reached an energy level of X9.3, or nine-times more powerful than an X1 flare, that even at its most average eruption reaches power equivalent to the explosion of billions of hydrogen bombs. "To observe the rise phases of three X-classes over two days is just unheard of". It overloaded all of NASA's solar measurement sensors, which cut out after measuring a flare of X28.

Related Articles

  • South Korea seeks stronger weapons amid rising tensions with North

    South Korea seeks stronger weapons amid rising tensions with North

    The two leaders reportedly agreed that North Korea's nuclear and missile programs pose a serious threat. The Russian president also slammed the "useless" sanctions imposed on North Korea, and called the U.S.
    Irma weakens but 6.2 mn without power in Florida

    Irma weakens but 6.2 mn without power in Florida

    Florida Power and Light said it had "safely shut down" one of two nuclear reactors at its Turkey Point power plant. Cuban state media said most of those died in Havana, where seawater surged deep into residential neighbourhoods.
    Republican senator Ted Cruz caught liking pornographic video on social media

    Republican senator Ted Cruz caught liking pornographic video on social media

    He was also part of a legal team that argued that Americans don't have the right to use sex toys. The activity has since been deleted from his page, but not before a screenshot was shared online.
  • Russia's Far East could help solve North Korea nuclear issue

    A fire department official in Seongju said 38 people, including six police officers, were injured, none seriously. Putin made the remarks Wednesday after meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Vladivostok, Russia .
    Man Charged with Murder of 5-Year-Old Jackson County Boy

    Man Charged with Murder of 5-Year-Old Jackson County Boy

    The search involved helicopters from KSP and the National Guard, riders on horseback, K-9 units and search by volunteers on foot. Kentucky State Police say they have charged Lonnie Belt with murder in connection with the death of James Spoonamore.
    UN Security Council passes toughest-ever sanctions against North Korea

    UN Security Council passes toughest-ever sanctions against North Korea

    It followed up with a sixth nuclear test on September 3, its largest to date, which it said was a miniaturized hydrogen bomb. North Korea has little oil of its own, relying on imports to keep its citizens and soldiers moving.
  • Oil Inventories Are On The Rise Again (USO)

    Oil Inventories Are On The Rise Again (USO)

    In the case of Irma, analysts are more anxious that devastation wrought by the storm could sharply reduce demand for energy. As of late Thursday, data from S&P Global Platts showed that 12.8% of US refinery capacity was down due to the storm.

    Packers' defense quiets Seahawks

    Nelson has been the Packers' number one receiver for several years and is still a crucial component of the Packers potent offense. It wasn't pretty, but the Green Bay Packers were able to fight for a win over the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau Field , 17-9.
    Xiaomi's Mi A1 will be available for the first time in India

    Xiaomi's Mi A1 will be available for the first time in India

    Two 12-megapixel sensors are present in this phone, and it features the wide-angle lens along with 1.25-micron pixel sensor. The smartphone will be go on sale today via Flipkart at 12 Noon IST and all Mi stores, website and partner stores offline.
  • Iran FM urges swift United Nations  action on Rohingya crisis

    Iran FM urges swift United Nations action on Rohingya crisis

    ARSA, which has been active since previous year , initially launched small assaults against the military. Rohingyas are not recognised by Myanmar as its citizens and are called Bengali by them.
    Here's Jaguar's electric racecar, debuting in new Formula E series 2018

    Here's Jaguar's electric racecar, debuting in new Formula E series 2018

    Maybe that will be enough to drum up some attention for the I-Pace eTrophy and electric racing in general. Each race will last about 30 minutes, with up to 20 I-Pace race cars competing in this 10-race series.
    Ryan murder: SC issues notice to Centre, Haryana govt, HRD Ministry

    Ryan murder: SC issues notice to Centre, Haryana govt, HRD Ministry

    The letter was meant to be a motivational message for Class 10 students who will be appearing for their board examinations soon. However, the court has said clearly that this is not about one case alone, but pertains to the education system on the whole.