Tags: solar | storms | flares | sun

Solar Storms: 7 Large Solar Flares Erupt in 7 Days

Image: Solar Storms: 7 Large Solar Flares Erupt in 7 Days
(NASA)

By    |   Wednesday, 13 Sep 2017 01:44 PM

A flurry of solar storms saw the sun firing seven large solar flares in seven days, prompting warnings of possible radio blackouts and other disruptions.

Sunday saw another powerful solar flare released, with high-energy light covering North and South America. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory posted a video depicting Sunday's flare on YouTube.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) issued a warning that strong radio blackouts were expected as a result of the flare, with loss of contact lasting up to an hour on Tuesday.

Astronauts aboard the International Space Station were also warned to be cautious as they could be exposed to harmful radiation.

Space.com noted that this latest flare fell in the highest classification, an "X" event, and was the third X-class solar blast to occur this week, with the strongest solar blast in 12-years released on Sept. 6.

These flares were originating from a sunspot known as Active Region (AR) 2673, which is believed to now be turning away from Earth.

Rob Steenburgh, a space scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center, explained to Space.com that "flares and sunspots go together."

He added that these powerful flares could cause extensive damage to satellite electronics and even lead to blackouts as currents surge through power grids on the ground.

The solar activity is somewhat unusual as the sun is entering a period of reduced solar activity. This solar minimum comes every 11-years in the sun’s cycle and generally sees decreased solar activity.

However Steenburgh told Space.com that, although the increased solar activity seen over the past week was surprising, it was by no means rare.

"Even though we're approaching solar minimum, there can still be large regions and events like this," he said. "They're less frequent/common, but no less impressive."

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A flurry of solar storms saw the sun firing seven large solar flares in seven days, prompting warnings of possible radio blackouts and other disruptions.
solar, storms, flares, sun
302
2017-44-13
Wednesday, 13 Sep 2017 01:44 PM
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