NASA releases amazing pics and GIF of solar flare

An X8.2 class solar flare flashes in the edge of the Sun on Sept. 10, 2017. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

NASA released amazing images of a solar flare that peaked around noon   (ET) Sunday.

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation that release clouds of electrons, ions, and electromagnetic waves into space. It typically takes a day or two for the clouds to reach earth.

An X8.2 class solar flare flashes in the edge of the Sun on Sept. 10, 2017. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

Consequently, forecasters say there’s a 60% chance of geomagnetic storms on September 13. The Space Weather Prediction Center says possible effects from the flare may be a wide area of blackouts to HF Radio and low-frequency communication may be degraded for about an hour.

On the bright side, auroras, also known as the northern lights, could appear as far south as New York to Wisconsin to Washington state.

Below is a Gif of the September 10 solar flare.

NASA Solar Flare
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured these images of an X8.2 solar flare – as seen in the bright area on the right – on Sept. 10, 2017. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

NASA classifies this particular flare as an X8.2.

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X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1; an X3 is three times as intense and so on.

How does this flare compare?

The most powerful flare on record was in 2003. The flare was so strong the sensors could not measure it.  They could only measure up to X-17. It’s estimated the 2003 flare was an X-45.

Just last Wednesday (9.6.17) NASA measured an X-9.3 flare. It was the largest flare in the past nine years.

This video created by NASA is a good explainer about X-Class solar flares.

 

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