Solar Flares

Sun Erupted in an Amazing Solar Flares

The sun erupted in an amazing solar flares on April 16, unleashing an intense eruption of

super-heated plasma that arced high above the star’s surface before blasting out into space. The powerful solar flare occurred at 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT) and registered as a moderate M1.7-class on the scale of sun storms, placing it firmly in the middle of the scale used by scientists to measure flare strength. The storm is not the strongest this year from the sun, but photos and video of the solar flare captured by NASA spacecraft revealed it to be an eye-popping display of magnetic plasma. The solar flare erupted along the sun’s eastern limb (its left side) from an active region. The flare kicked up a massive amount of solar plasma in an explosion known as a coronal mass ejection, or CME. When aimed at Earth, strong solar flares and CMEs (coronal mass ejections) can supercharge the planet’s auroras, also known as the northern and southern lights. Extremely powerful CMEs (coronal mass ejection) can pose a danger to astronauts and satellites in space, as well as power grids, navigation and communications systems on Earth. Astronomers measure solar flares on a letter scale, with the strongest events falling into three categories: C, M and X. C-class solar flares are the weakest events, with the X-class sun storms marking the most powerful events on the sun. The sun is currently in an active phase of its 11-year solar weather cycle (Solar Cycle 24.) and is expected to reach its peak activity in 2013.