[ Back to EurekAlert! ]

PUBLIC RELEASE DATE:
24-Oct-2013

[ | E-mail ] Share Share

Contact: Susan Hendrix
Susan.m.hendrix@nasa.gov
301-286-7745
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's SDO sees sun emit a mid-level solar flare

IMAGE: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory or SDO, captured this image on the sun of an M9.4-class solar flare, which peaked at 8:30 pm EDT on Oct. 23, 2013. The image displays...

Click here for more information.

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare that peaked at 8:30 pm EDT on Oct. 23, 2013. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. Such radiation can disrupt radio signals for as long as the flare is ongoing, anywhere from minutes to hours.

To see how this event may impact Earth, please visit NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center at http://spaceweather.gov, the U.S. government's official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.

This flare is classified as an M9.4 flare, on a scale from M1 to M9.9. This rating puts it at the very top of the scale for M class flares, which are the weakest flares that can cause some space weather effects near Earth. In the past, they have caused brief radio blackouts at the poles. The next highest level is X-class, which denotes the most intense flares.

Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun is near solar maximum. Humans have tracked solar cycles continuously since they were discovered in 1843, and it is normal for there to be many flares a day during the sun's peak activity.

###



[ Back to EurekAlert! ] [ | E-mail Share Share ]

 


AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.