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Waspie_Dwarf

Active Region on Sun Emits Another Flare

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Active Region on Sun Emits Another Flare

Video of a solar flare on Oct. 22, 2012, as captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in the 131 and 304 Angstrom wavelengths. The 131 wavelength of light is used for observing solar material heated to 10 million degrees Kelvin, as in a solar flare. The wavelength is typically colorized in teal, as it is here.

Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard

Source: NASA - Multimedia

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That's some scary shizznit!

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That's some scary shizznit!

Why? The Earth has been hit by 7 flares at least as large as this (one was 6 times more powerful) in 2012 alone.

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf

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Likely stupid questions, but just wondering:

Are solar flares unique to our own sun, or are they considered "common" events with all suns?

Secondly, do massive solar flares indicate a potential catastrophic event for our sun/earth?

Sorry for my confusion.

Edited by pallidin

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Likely stupid questions, but just wondering:

Are solar flares unique to our own sun, or are they considered "common" events with all suns?

I don't think they are considered unique.

Secondly, do massive solar flares indicate a potential catastrophic event for our sun/earth?

Absolutely not. The sun undergoes an approximate 11 year cycle (the sun doesn't keep very good time and this cycle can vary from 9 to 14 years. Once every eleven years or so it becomes quiet, with virtually no sun spots and few flares, this is know as Solar Minimum. Then over a period of about 5.5 years its activity gradually increases, sun spots and flares become more common and more violent, this is Solar Maximum. The sun then gradually quietens down again.

We are very close to Solar Max so an increase in the number and intensity of solar flares is not only not a portent of catastrophic events, it is a normal and expected phenomenon. The Earth's magnetic field protects us from charged particles and the atmosphere protects us from the electromagnetic radiation such as X-rays.

The biggest problem is our reliance on electricity and electronics. A really large flare can knock out electricity grids and electronics in Northern latitudes (in southern too, but there aren't too many people living in the far south of the planet). It can also damage satellites.

In the future these flares will be hazardous to astronauts on deep space missions to Mars and beyond, but they present no threat to life on Earth.

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I know this happens a lot but one of these days its really going shoot one off that will shut us down for a while.

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Secondly, do massive solar flares indicate a potential catastrophic event for our sun/earth?

Sorry for my confusion.

A massive solar flare could cause us to go without electricity for a bit. In 1989 a major flare caused 6 million people in Canada to go without power for 9 hours. So it would have to be huge to cause any real damage. If we had one like that of 1859 today would cause problems I'm sure...

Edited by CRYSiiSx2
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