The sun fired its largest flares in two decades. This is how it was seen from space

The Solar Dynamics Observatory does not lose track of what is happening on the surface of our star

The past few weeks have been full of unusual space weather activity. Last Friday the 10th We are experiencing a solar storm That brought aurora to latitudes where it is rare, and on Tuesday the 14th, the Sun unleashed the largest “flash” seen so far this cycle.

In addition to flares or solar flares, the sun also has these days The issue was anticipated in the form of Coronal mass ejection (poison). It was one of these events in particular that caused the storm on the 10th.

This storm, according to the US space agency NASA, was the strongest in two decades. It is estimated that the aurora borealis was the most intense in 500 years.

“We will study this event for years.” Teresa Nieves Chinchilla pointed out, acting director of NASA's Space Weather Analysis Office. “He will help us Testing the limits of our models And understanding solar storms.”

During these difficult days, NASA has kept its eye on the state of the Sun here on Earth Space Weather Prediction Centerdepends on NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) was responsible for warning of the potentially harmful phenomena of these events.

NASA's eyes have a name: the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). This space observatory constantly monitors the Sun to alert us to events like those that occurred these weeks. The probe was launched in 2010, and since then it has served as an “outpost” for solar events.

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It was this observatory that sent us hypnotic images of solar activity. Among these pictures we can see different glare. Solar flares are Electromagnetic radiation torches Our star fired him. They travel at the speed of light so it is impossible to predict that they will reach our planet.

The May 2 glow can be seen at the top of the Sun, to the left of center. The image was taken by mixing 131 and 171 angstrom lights.

During the first days of May we were able to see important flares. In the picture A He was arrested on May 2. In the following days, from May 3 to May 9, 82 of these “flashes” were captured.

The May 14 glow was seen in the extreme ultraviolet spectrum. NASA/SDO.

However this week, On the fourteenth When the observatory captured the strongest flare seen so far in the 25th solar cycle. He is what we see in this second picture. Its rating on the scale was X8.7.

We must add to these flares the massive coronal emission that caused the aurora borealis last Friday, the tenth of this month, as these explosions, unlike “flares,” expel charged particles. On the one hand, they move more slowly than flares, and on the other hand, their impact on Earth is more intense.

When we talk about Solar storms We're talking about Archaeology Caused by these events in the atmosphere and surface of our planet. While flares, when they reach Earth, can cause problems with radio communications, ejecta are often associated with solar storms.

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Auroras are created when charged particles ejected by the Sun are released Deflected by the protective shield of our planet: Magnetosphere. This magnetic field causes molecules to deflect, some toward space, others trapped and ending up in the polar regions. When they collide with gases in our atmosphere, they emit light, creating the aurora borealis.

It's all part of the solar peak of the twenty-fifth solar cycle. Solar activity rises and falls regularly, with cycles lasting about 11 years. At this time we are approaching the point of maximum intensity of Cycle 25, so events of this type are not entirely strange or anomalous.

Right now, we don't have to deal with high-intensity solar storms, Capable of generating serious problems In communications networks and electronic devices. However, experts continue to pay attention to sun exposure, because prevention is always best.

In Chataka | The “Lachamp event,” when the Earth’s poles flipped and caused our magnetic shield to collapse

Cover image | NASA/SDO

Myrtle Frost

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