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Stunning sight! NASA observatory snaps terrifying X-class solar flare erupting from the Sun

A dangerous X-class solar flare was emitted from the surface of the Sun, and it was captured by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Updated on: Jul 04 2023, 12:25 IST
NASA SDO captured the solar flare with its suite of advanced instruments. (NASA/SDO)

The Sun has been showing all its might for the past couple of months and as we approach the solar maximum that will likely occur in 2025, its wrath is only expected to increase. For the unaware, solar maximum is the period of greatest solar activity during the Sun’s 11-year cycle. At solar max, the changes in the Sun’s magnetic field result in more solar activity such as sunspots, CMEs, eruptions, and more. The effects of this activity were seen on July 2 as the Sun hurled out a terrifying X-class solar flare.

Solar flare captured

According to a NASA report, the solar flare that was emitted from the Sun’s surface was of X1.0 intensity. X-class solar flares are the most intense flares which can result in long-lasting radiation storms. The flare was captured by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) which carries a full suite of instruments to observe the Sun and has been doing so since 2010. It uses three very crucial instruments to collect data from various solar activities. The captured image shows extreme ultraviolet light highlighting the hot material spewing out from the Sun, which is colorized in teal.

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X-class solar flares: Are they dangerous?

X-class solar flares can create radiation storms which have the potential to not only harm satellites, but also give small doses of radiation to the people flying in airplanes at the time! Moreover, these devastating flares can disrupt global communications and bring down the power grids to create blackouts, if they are are extremely powerful.

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If the X-class flares are too strong, they can result in loops that are ten times as big as Earth which leaps off the Sun’s surface as the magnetic fields cross over, according to NASA. When these loops reconnect, they can produce as much energy as a billion hydrogen bombs!

Most powerful solar flare in recent history

While most X-class flares are dangerous, some are so strong that even advanced instruments are unable to measure them. In 2003, an X-class flare that was hurled out by the Sun was so strong that the sensors measuring it were overloaded. Its intensity came out to be a staggering X28 on the measuring scale.

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First Published Date: 04 Jul, 12:23 IST