The largest solar flares are classified as x-class flares and can produce as much energy as a billion hydrogen bombs!
They can be viewed as huge explosions in the solar system.
So, naturally we might wonder - How dangerous are these enormous solar flares and how can they harm our planet?
Sun cycles are natural and happen every 11 years or so. It is estimated that Solar Cycle 24 will peak in 2013, and
many people fear the radiation from the flares will cause damage to our planet.
Solar flares are giant explosions on the sun that send energy, light and high speed particles into space.
These flares are often associated with solar magnetic storms known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs).
Just recently we experienced the strongest solar radiation storm since 2005.
Solar cycles vary in length from about 9 to 14 years. Some peaks are high, others low. According to NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center,
Solar Cycle 24 prediction our Sun will have a peak with a below-average number of sunspots.
However, it should be noted that " even a below-average cycle is capable of producing severe space weather," explains Doug Biesecker of
the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.
Huge solar flare erupting from the Sun. Credit: SDO/Helioviewer/NASA
During the peak we can expect some smaller and larger flares. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has devised categories
for the flares and various storms. The biggest flares are known as "X-class flares" based on a classification system that divides solar
flares according to their strength.
The biggest x-class flares can be viewed as huge explosions in the solar system.
Loops tens of times the size of Earth leap up off the sun's surface when the sun's magnetic fields cross over each other and reconnect.
In the biggest events, this reconnection process can produce as much energy as a billion hydrogen bombs!
We have already seen X-class flares in 2011 and more are to come this year. If such huge solar flares are directed at our planet,
they can create long lasting radiation storms that can harm satellites, communications systems, and even ground-based technologies
and power grids. People are not expected to be in any danger.
Even if there is no reason to panic because of the approaching solar cycle 24 peak, it is important to constantly monitor the Sun's
activity, its X-class flares and their associated magnetic storms because strong magnetic storms can interfere with short wave radio
communications, GPS signals, and Earth's power grid, among other things.
Astrophysicist Resolves Paradox With Radio Millisecond Pulsars
Celestial objects known as pulsars are still full of secrets. It is takes time and many efforts to learn all their secrets. Previous studies reached
the paradoxical conclusion that some millisecond pulsars are even older than the universe itself. It was time to resolve this paradox.
Unusual Sounds From Space Reported Worldwide - What Are They?
For almost a year now people from different countries have reported hearing strange sound from the sky. Now scientists propose that what people are
hearing is only a small fraction of the actual power of these sounds!
What are these sounds? What is causing them? Are they in anyway related to our Sun and the biggest solar flares, do they come from Earth's inner core
or can they be attributed to an unknown an astronomical phenomenon? Are they in anyway dangerous to our planet?
Unknown Force "Intelligently" Put Together Miranda Moon - with video
What could melt this moon in this extremely cold region of the solar system?
Voyager 2 passed Miranda’s strange world at a distance of only 3,000 kilometers (1,800 miles) and
sent back to Earth very detailed images of its "tortured" surface.
Nothing like them has been seen anywhere else in the solar system! Did a type III civilization conduct some "experiments" on Miranda?