NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured images of M- and X-class solar flares on March 30 and 31, 2022, respectively.
Solar flares are brief, powerful outbursts of electromagnetic radiation from the Sun lasting from minutes to hours.
They are created when magnetic fields suddenly and explosively rearrange themselves, converting magnetic energy into light through magnetic reconnection.
Solar flares produce enhanced emission in all wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum, including radio, optical, UV, X- and gamma-rays.
Harmful radiation from these events pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however, they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.
Scientists classify solar flares according to their brightness in the X-ray wavelengths. There are three categories of solar flares: C, M, and X.
“Solar flares are powerful bursts of energy,” NASA astronomers said.
“Flares and solar eruptions can impact radio communications, electric power grids, navigation signals, and pose risks to spacecraft and astronauts.”
The Sun emitted a significant solar flare on March 30, 2022, peaking at 1:35 p.m. EST.
The next day, our star emitted a mid-level solar flare with a peak at 2:35 p.m. EST.
“The March 30 flare is classified as an X-class flare,” the researchers said.
“X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength.”
“An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.”
“The March 31 event is classified as an M-class flare,” they added.
“M-class flares are a tenth the size of the X-class flares.”
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