Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Sun Releases Largest Flare in Nearly a Decade | NASA Goddard

Sun Releases Largest Flare in Nearly a Decade | NASA Goddard

On May 14, 2024, the Sun emitted a strong solar flare. This solar flare is the largest of Solar Cycle 25 and is classified as an X8.7 flare. X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength.

A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation, or light, on the Sun. Flares are our solar system’s most powerful explosive events. Light only takes about 8 minutes to travel from the Sun to Earth, so that’s how long it would take the energy from a flare to reach our planet. Stronger solar flares—those rated class M5 or above—can have impacts on technology that depends on Earth’s ionosphere (our electrically charged upper atmosphere), like high-frequency radio used for navigation and GPS.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured these images of the flare, which peaked at 12:51 p.m. ET on May 14. The X8.7 flare appears on the lower right edge of the Sun. (A small eruption appears afterward in the upper left.) SDO sees the Sun in more than 10 distinct wavelengths of light, showing solar material at different temperatures. Different wavelengths are shown in this video to highlight different features of the flare.

Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Scientific Visualization Studio

Scott Wiessinger (MORI Associates): Producer

Abbey Interrante (ADNET Systems, Inc.): Writer

Tom Bridgman (Global Science and Technology, Inc.): Visualizer

Duration: 1 minute, 12 seconds

Release Date: May 15, 2024

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