Solar flares of the strongest category have appeared on the Sun.  Causing radio interference on Earth

Two days ago, an active region on the Sun became a source of a very strong solar flare. The flare is rated Class X, the highest possible, and was felt on the Pacific coast.

The flare occurred on July 2 at 7 p.m. EDT. It is rated as X1.0. Breaking records by comparison Solar flares It’s the X28 of 20 years ago. When it reached the upper atmosphere, Radio waves malfunction on the side of the earth that happens to be facing the sun. The result was a radio outage in the western United States and in the Pacific Ocean. Intense, but fortunately short.

The event has been registered successfully. NASA has released an ultraviolet image of the Sun showing a region codenamed AR 3354. This region was the source of the recent flare. As the scientists stress, although the X class is the highest possible class, the effects of the event are not serious. Coronal mass ejections are often associated with fire (Coronal mass ejection, CME). This time there was no CME, which saved Earth from the dangers of a magnetic storm.

When viewed from Earth without any amateur or specialized equipment, the Sun appears as a bright, uniform ball. However, its surface is not uniform at all. There are darker areas on it called sunspots. Sunspots are places that are much cooler than the surrounding areas. Simply put, these are areas of strong magnetic activity. You can read more about the structure of the Sun in our article on this topic.

A giant sunspot with a diameter of about 130,000. km (almost three times the length of the Earth’s equator). picture. NASA/SDO

Solar activity – and the accompanying number of sunspots – varies in 11-year cycles. We are currently approaching the solar maximum, which is scheduled to happen in two years in June. As a result, we see more and more sunspots on the surface of the Sun. In June this year, according to the Royal Belgian Observatory, there were an average of 163 per day (by the way, more than expected for this cycle).

When the magnetic field undergoes rapid local changes, flares are emitted from the Sun. Spots are its source. A glow is the release of huge amounts of energy, light and high-energy particles. If it involves the emission of hot gas, that is, plasma, then we are talking about coronal mass ejection.

Flames are divided into several categories according to their strength. The weakest ones are marked with the letter A and then there are B, C, M and O torches, each subsequent class representing a tenfold increase in glow power. So X-flare is 10 times more powerful than M and 100 times more powerful than C.

A more detailed numerical scale is attached to each category. For classes A to M, it is from 1 to 9. However, class X flares can be very powerful, so there is no upper limit to them. Thus, the most powerful explosion ever recorded (from 2003) is X28.

According to NASA’s website, “X-flares are the largest explosions known to date in the solar system.” “They make a strong impression. Rings tens of times the size of Earth break away from the sun’s surface as the solar magnetic field lines intersect and rejoin. During the most powerful events of this kind, energy equivalent to a billion hydrogen bombs is generated.

Scientists monitor the most dangerous coronal mass ejections and flares. CME can cause a powerful magnetic storm on Earth, which is dangerous to our communications and electrical grids.

The bursts themselves, if strong enough, can cause interference far greater than transient radio blackouts. If it were more powerful than the X10, it would threaten navigation systems and could cause a complete outage of radio communications for several hours. Fortunately, X10 flares occur on average only eight times per solar cycle. And X20 – only once in a solar cycle.

source: Science alertAnd NASAAnd NOAA

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