(Mirror Daily, United States) – The Sun has recently offered us an amazing spectacle of lights right before entering the quiet phase of its cycle. Right before getting further from our planet, region 2673 released some of the largest X-class flares during the past week. In fact, one of these flares entered the top 10 of such phenomena, and was the brightest such event which has occurred over the last decade.
How do these phenomena occur?
The Sun has a magnetic field which is currently fluctuating, causing sudden energy and light bursts known as solar flares. Depending on how much energy they have, they are classified using letters, and each letter has ten times the intensity of the previous one. Therefore, we have the A, B, C, M, and X categories.
M and X classes often come with other charged particles called CMEs (Coronal Mass Ejections). Also, since they are the strongest, they can often affect GPS or radio waves, hence disturbing on-land communication and navigation systems.
These were the first X-class flares since 2015
At the beginning of this week, the sun displayed a series of flares belonging to the M class. Soon after that, the eruptions turned into three fully fledged X-class flares, which took place over the course of two days. The strongest one was an X9.3 eruption, which was also captured in a video.
The Sun has already entered its minimum phase in its cycle of 11 years. This means that there are few regions where typical flares can occur, so it often happens that bigger ones should happen instead. By learning this pattern and looking at their development, researchers might find out how to predict future solar storms. However, it’s really hard to capture the exact moment when a flare forms, so some of the observations are fragmentary.
Even so, the event was truly exciting. These have been the first flares since May 2015, and the X9.3 one occupies the eighth place since 1996, when scientists started recording these phenomena.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
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