Sun blasts biggest solar flare in 4 years, causes minor radio blackout on earth

  • The enormous solar flare, which appeared overnight, and disappeared even faster, can be seen emerging from the sun's upper right limb in a video released by Nasa
Solar flares are categorised as A, B, C, M or X--A being the smallest and X being the brightest and largest. (Screengrab from video posted by VideoFromSpace)
Solar flares are categorised as A, B, C, M or X--A being the smallest and X being the brightest and largest. (Screengrab from video posted by VideoFromSpace)
Published on Jul 05, 2021 03:51 PM IST
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By hindustantimes.com | Written by Sharangee Dutta | Edited by Meenakshi Ray

The sun blasted the biggest solar flare since 2017 causing cosmic fireworks, and even a minor radio blackout on earth, ahead of July 4, according to reports. The solar flare appeared from a sunspot called AR2838 and it was also classified as an X-1 class sun event, they said.

In a video released by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), the enormous flare can be seen emerging from the sun's upper right limb. According to US Space Weather Prediction Centre (SWPC) officials, the sunspot developed overnight.

Space weather watcher and astronomer Dr Tony Phillips said that the sunspot appeared just like a cloudless day turning quickly stormy. “Yesterday it did not even exist, highlighting the unpredictability of solar activity,” he wrote at Spaceweather.com. “More flares may be in the offing…,” he added.

What is a solar flare?

Nasa suggests that a solar flare is an “intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots.” They said that flares are the solar system’s largest explosive events and can be seen as “bright areas on the sun,” lasting from a few minutes to even hours. The primary method of monitoring flares is in x-rays and optical light. Besides, flares are sites where particles, including electrons, protons, and heavier particles are accelerated.

What does an X-ray brightness of a solar flare mean?

The categorisation of solar flares includes A, B, C, M or X--A being the smallest and X being the brightest and largest. Therefore, Saturday’s solar flare was the first X flare blasted off by the sun since a new solar cycle commenced in December 2019, according to a Forbes report.

In the past, the report further stated, strong solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) have generated widespread power outages and communications blackouts on earth and the satellites in space.

Where is the solar flare now?

Media reports suggested that the sunspot AR2838 disappeared as fast as it appeared in the first place. On July 4, the sunspot moved to the sun’s northwestern limb, and it will move the far side of the star in the coming two weeks, Optic Flux reported.

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Sunday, October 24, 2021