MessageToEagle.com - The current increase in the number of X-class flares is part of the sun’s
normal 11-year solar cycle, during which activity on the sun ramps up to solar maximum, which is expected to
peak in late 2013.
In July, the sun emitted its strongest solar flare of the summer, causing vivid aurora borealis, or northern
lights, in parts of southern Canada and northern United States.
Also in July, the sun emitted a medium-intensity flare believed to be the reason for India’s worst power outage in history.
According to James R. Webb, astronomy professor in the Department of Physics, solar flares are a pretty common
occurrence, typically occurring in cycles.
“A magnetic disturbance in the sun sends a stream of high-energy charged particles off into space at high
velocities,” Webb said.
“Only a small portion of these particles actually hits Earth, most go off into space away from Earth.”
But, can solar flares really cause serious damage here on Earth?
“Sometimes the flare is so strong, that it totally fills the Earth’s radiation belts and the particles
can enter the atmosphere at much lower latitudes and even hit Earth itself,” Webb said.
“In these cases, the worse that happens is some electrical circuits get short-circuited and go offline.”
Click on image to enlarge
NASA’s prediction of the monthly sunspot numbers (where solar flares come from) through the next cycle finds
a maximum of about 60 sunspots in the Spring of 2013. Credits: NASA
The biggest flares can be tens of times the size of the Earth and some of them result in a real danger
in form of CMEs (coronal mass ejections),
a huge bubble of charged particles rushing towards Earth at tremendous speeds up to millions of kilometres per hour.
Fortunately, harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to affect humans on the ground.
Of the particles that do interact with Earth, most are trapped in the Earth’s radiation belts and actually
make their way to the polar latitudes (Canada, Siberia, Alaska) in the northern hemisphere and enter the
atmosphere causing northern lights, Webb said.
The particles going south enter the atmosphere in Antarctica causing southern lights.
“If the latest outbursts are pointed toward Earth, we might see some of the effects, but they are not
devastating and will certainly happen again in the future,” Webb said.
Shockwaves Could Crinkle Space-Time Creating A New Kind Of Singularity
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Space-Time Crystal Computer That Can Outlive Even The Universe Itself!
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X-ray 'Echoes' Will Help Probe
A Supermassive Black Hole's Surroundings
Most big galaxies host a big central black hole containing millions of times the sun's mass. When matter streams toward one of
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Mysterious X-Rays From Jupiter Near The Poles
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Next Magnetic Pole Reversal Is Underway - Scientists Say
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The magnetic field reverses direction every few thousand years. If it happened now, we would be exposed to solar winds capable of knocking
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