Solar flares made headlines last week after the sun let-out its most powerful solar flare in five years. Prior to this, there were a few more flares over the past month, but not quite as strong as our Sun entering the active phase of the solar weather cycle. This means that we are likely to see more flares, perhaps even stronger ones, in the next few years.
Sunspots and solar flares
Sunspots are areas of the sun’s surface that appear darker since they are relatively colder than other parts of the sun’s surface. This happens after the magnetic field in that area increases & blocks the outflow of gas from interior the sun.
The magnetic field lines rearrange themselves but occur in an explosive manner, resulting in a eruption of radiation from solar surface known as a solar flare. When a giant particle is sent-out from the sun’s atmosphere, it is called coronal mass ejection or CME.
A recent solar flare has been linked to a sunspot called AR 2993, covering area of hundreds of millions of square miles, Live Science reports. This is the same sunspot that gave us a strong flare over the Easter weekend. This time, however, the flare were recorded with the M grade, which is lower intensity.
Impact of solar flares
According to a Live Science report, double radiation eruption in rapid succession have caused some radio blackouts in Australia and Asia. There is a risk that flashes directed at the Earth will block all radio communications & disrupting power grids. Earlier this year, a geomagnetic storm put-out over 40 SpaceX Starlink satellites before reaching their designated orbit.
But there are also delightful consequences of major solar flares. When powerful flares interact with Earth’s magnetic field, they create beautiful aurora that can be seen farther south of the pole than they usually are. As more solar flares are predicted in the future, the chances of seeing the aurora from the comfort of your home are also increasing.