October 15, 2018

Sun releases huge solar flare

The Sun - Everyones favourite great ball of fire

The Sun has unleashed its biggest solar flare in four years with the British Geological Survey issuing a geomagnetic storm warning.

The huge flare is the strongest type, called an X-flare. That means it has special powers to disrupt communications systems here on earth. In the past things like electrical power grids, Satellites and phone networks have been disrupted. Even that thoroughly new millenium toy the satellite navigation system is up for disruption.

Nasa, not to be outdone in the observation stakes, reports that their Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft has recorded an intense flash of extreme ultraviolet radiation emanating from a sunspot.

The flare was 15 February and directed at the Earth (that’s us folks). According to NASA the newly labelled – sunspot 1158 – is growing rapidly. Newswarped thinks that sunspots need to have more adventurous names. If hurricanes can have official labels like ‘Katrina’ then why can’t big sunspots have something a little more intriguing than – sunspot 1158. Yeah 1158, that was a bad one, or was it 1156? I can’t recall.

Solar flares are caused by the sudden release of magnetic energy stored in the Sun’s atmosphere.