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Image of the Day: Colossal Solar Flare Erupts from Sunspot (VIDEO)

 

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The sun unleashed the third major solar flare in three days, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory scientists said. The massive solar storm occurred late Sunday at 10:03 p.m. EDT (0203 Oct. 28 GMT). It registered as an X-class solar flare — the most powerful type of flare the sun has — and followed two back-to-back X-flares that erupted from the sun on Friday (Oct. 25). NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured a video of the new X-class solar flare shown below. This image oshows a blend of light in wavelengths of 193 and 131 Angstroms. The flare, an X2.1, appears as the bright flash on the left. 

This latest solar flare erupted from an active sunspot region called AR1875 and triggered a strong radio blackout when it occurred, officials with the NOAA-run Space Weather Prediction Group explained in a status update. The flare also coincided with a massive explosion of super-hot solar plasma — called a coronal mass ejection, or CME — which should reach Earth by Oct. 30 and could trigger minor geomagnetic storms in the planet's magnetic field.

 

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NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory is just one of a fleet of spacecraft monitoring the sun's current weather cycle, which is known as Solar Cycle 24 and began in 2008. Scientists tracking the cycle's activity, however, have said that despite several major flare events, this solar maximum period is the weakest of the last 100 years.

 

           

 

Image Credit: NASA/SDO and Goddard Space Flight Center and 

Comments

On earth the geomagnetic storms caused from CME's bend the jet stream that separate high and low pressure air masses. The resulting changing weather patterns will become more erratic and should be expected as the sun moves into solar maxim. One thing is for sure, when solar cycle 24 reaches maxim it will once again swing into its roughly 11 year minimum resulting in a diminishing amount of sun spots.
I wish DG would do a science article on the likely correlations with solar flux, climate, and extreme weather events. Correlations will mean that the accurate extrapolation of the future state of weather and climate is possible with a expanded sencorium and a valid method of interpreting data. The IPCC should use its vast resources for this endeavour.

We are at Solar maximum now. It's the weakest one in modern history. The solar magnetic fields have already flipped. Some researchers are predicting the advent of another Grand Minima.

A Grand Minima after reinventing our economy for low carbon emissions would be hilariously ironic if it wasn't so tragic.

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