NASA captures images of strong solar flares

A massive X9.3-class solar flare blasted from the sun at 8:02 a.m. EDT

Spectacular aurora displays seen across the northern hemisphere in recent days have been caused by a huge solar flare with the energy of a billion hydrogen bombs, United Kingdom scientists have said.

The biggest flare to erupt from this active sunspot occurred on September 6th, and apparently the radio blackout that it caused has already passed.

The sun has fired at least five sizeable solar flares towards our planet since 4 September, eventually culminating in the largest flare observed by NASA since December 2008. That flare was the strongest since 2015, at X2.2, but it was dwarfed just 3 hours later, at 8:02 a.m. EDT (1202 GMT), by an X9.3 flare, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC).

The massive burst of radiation, one of three so called X-category flares observed over a 48-hour period, continues to produce spectacular aurora displays across northern latitudes.

The team said flare observation using ground-based telescopes is hard because X-class flares can form and reach their peak intensities in little more than five minutes.

Early this week, the sun released a solar flare that shut down communications made via satellite. The eruption originated from one large spot in #The Sun. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which observes the sun constantly, also imaged the both events. In fact, the Sun has a roughly 11-year sunspot cycle - the result of the its changing magnetic field. The number of Active Regions, where flares occur, is low, so to have X-class flares so close together is very usual. As the solar flares climb from classification A to X, its power increases 10-fold. "However - when intense enough - they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where Global Positioning System and communications signals travel", a NASA statement said. The flash of light and high energy particles released is the solar flare, while the solar matter from the magnetic contortions are CMEs.

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