A massive explosion on the sun on Monday (9 January) sparked a powerful solar flare from a new sunspot that is slowly turning towards Earth.
The solar flare erupted at 1:50 p.m. EST (1850 GMT) as an X1.9-category sun storm that caused a temporary, but strong, storm over parts of South America, Central America and the Pacific Ocean, according to a statement. caused a radio blackout. (opens in new tab) From the US Space Weather Prediction Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. X-class flares are the strongest type of storms from the Sun. NOAA reported that Monday’s flare came from the same sunspot that fired an X 1.2 class solar flare on January 5.
“The source is hyperactive sunspot AR3184,” astronomer Tony Phillips of the space weather website SpaceWeather.com wrote in an update. (opens in new tab), “No debris will hit Earth; the sunspot is not facing our planet. It will turn in our direction later this week.”
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NASA captures stunning photos and video of solar flare (opens in new tab) With its Solar Dynamics Observatory, a space-based telescope that continuously observes the Sun in different wavelengths.
Solar flares are intense eruptions from the surface of the Sun that explode at a variety of power levels. The weakest flares, classified as A-, B- or C-type hurricanes, are generally minor. Strong M-class flares can stream charged particles to Earth that supercharge our planet’s auroras, enhancing the displays of the northern lights and southern lights.
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When aimed directly at Earth, X-class solar flares “can affect radio communications, the electric power grid, navigation signals and pose a risk to spacecraft and astronauts,” NASA said in a statement. “ (opens in new tab),
The Sun is currently in an active phase of its 11-year seasonal solar cycle. The current phase is known as solar cycle 25, which is expected to peak in 2025.
NASA tracks solar flares and other space weather events by observing the Sun with a variety of spacecraft. In addition to the Solar Dynamics Observatory, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory or SOHO (a joint mission of NASA and the European Space Agency) also regularly observes space weather events.
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