According to the latest release from NASA, the Sun released yet another powerful solar flare, the seventh in a number of just seven days. Like the other six powerful solar flares detected since September 04, this also came from a sunspot known as AR (Active Region) 2673.
This is reportedly in the process of turning away from our planet and is expected to soon go out of sight.
Solar Flares Come in Three Categories
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s SWPC or Space Weather Prediction Center divided solar flares into three types, based on their strength. This latest solar flare was marked as being a X8.2-class flare. X-class flares are considered to be the most intense ones, and the number accompanying them is a mark of their intensity, with an X2 being twice as intense as X1.
Two of the other six recorded solar flares were also ranked as being X-class ones. One of them, which occurred on Wednesday, September 6, was categorized as an X9.3 flare and declared the strongest recorded solar blast in 12 years.
The latest powerful solar flare occurred on Sunday, September 10, and peaked at 12:06 p.m. EDT. In charge of monitoring the Sun constantly, the Solar Dynamics Observatory from NASA managed to snap a picture of the event.
Powerful bursts of radiation, solar flares, although they cannot physically affect people, may nonetheless bother their activities. People are protected from them by the fact that the radiations they release cannot pass through the planet’s atmosphere.
However, when these radiations are intense enough, they can nonetheless disturb the atmosphere’s layers which are traveled by communication and GPS signals.
The Sunday Flare and its Possible Effects
According to reports, the Sunday flare was also accompanied by a CME or a coronal mass ejection, as is usual for powerful solar bursts. These huge clouds of superheated solar plasma can travel through space at millions of miles per hour.
While AR2673 is not facing Earth directly, its most recent CME may still glancingly blow the planet. In turn, this might lead to a supercharging of the northern light on Wednesday night, September 13.
This month’s high solar activity is also reportedly ‘quite a surprise’. The Sun is entering its solar minimum, a period in which it has its lowest number of sunspots. After this, it will be reaching its solar maximum, another phase in its 11-years cycle of activity.
Image Source: Wikimedia