Sunspots and Solar Flares
March 20th, 2012
10:38 AM ET

Sunspots and Solar Flares

"NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this image of an M7.9 class flare on March 13, 2012 at 1:29 p.m. EDT. It is shown here in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a wavelength particularly good for seeing solar flares and a wavelength that is typically colorized in teal. The flare peaked at 1:41 p.m. EDT. It was from the same active region, No. 1429, that produced flares and coronal mass ejections the entire week. The region has been moving across the face of the sun since March 2, and will soon rotate out of Earth view.

A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events. They are seen as bright areas on the sun and last from mere minutes to several hours.

Scientists classify solar flares according to their x-ray brightness. There are 3 categories: X-, M- and C-class. X-class flares are the largest of these events. M-class flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth's polar regions. Compared to X- and M-class, C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences on Earth."

Source: NASA

Filed under: Light up the screen
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. arben ceka

    There must be speeds faster than the speed of light in the nature and this do not contradict the theory of relativity of Einstein.This idea brings the theory of relativity in a new perspective without denying it.

    March 24, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  2. question

    I was wondering because solar flares and/or CMEs are so powerful that they can eject particles at such great speeds and distance, do scientists know or have theroized what the opposite reaction is having on the sun?

    March 20, 2012 at 3:07 pm |

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