Every 100 years or so, our Sun gives off a great big belch that sends an intense wave of charged particles towards Earth. This wasn’t a problem in the past, but our high-tech civilization is now disturbingly vulnerable to these solar storms. A new study quantifies the economic risks posed by these extreme solar…
Since early last week, the Sun has belched out a steady stream of solar flares, including the most powerful burst recorded in the star’s current 11-year cycle. It sounds very alarming, but scientists say this is simply what stars do every now and then, and that there’s nothing to be concerned about.
The Sun’s impact on weather here on Earth is clear: It makes it hot or cold, it powers air currents, it causes water to evaporate making rain, et cetera. But with our increasing reliance on satellites and electronics, you can’t forget its more insidious effects—and some satellites got a taste of those yesterday.
If a solar flare really took place that close to Earth, it would mean the end of days on our little planet. But seeing that flare erupt right next to us sure does show us just how powerful these things really are.
There’s a red dwarf about 35 light-years from here that’s spewing powerful, life crushing solar flares into space. These types of stellar objects are fairly common, leading to speculation that our galaxy is less habitable than we thought.
This puts everything in perspective. Here's an image of today's X2.2-class solar flare, along with the Earth for scale. Image via NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory
Our sun may look relatively constant from our far away perch on Earth, but up close it's a busy place, full of plasma activity, shifting magnetic fields, and, yes, even explosions. Here are the different kinds of solar explosions you might see, and how to tell the difference between them.
This morning, astronomers observed an incredibly powerful x-class solar flare erupting from the sun, only to be surprised by what they saw happen just about an hour later: a second x-class flare.
This may be the most amazing shot of the northern lights, yet. Check out the way they're moving — that's no timelapse, this video was shot in realtime.
The sun threw off a pair of solar flares as the 2013 turned into 2014. The above image from New Year's Day shows a variety of wavelengths of light with the lighter colors representing higher temperatures. It's also totally face-melting. [NASA]
It's been a remarkable week of solar activity. Astronomers recorded several coronal mass ejections this week, including three that are currently hitting the Earth's magnetic field. An exquisite image of one of this week's many flares can be seen below.
Why would a spinning star suddenly slow down? Even after writing a scientific paper about the phenomenon, astronomers still appear to be in shock-and-awe mode about what they saw.
Early this morning, while most of us were resting peacefully in our beds, everyone's favorite flaming ball of plasma decided to give NASA's cameras a little show. More specifically, the Solar Dynamics Observatory managed to capture our sun's biggest solar flare of the year thus far.
You might think our own sun is turbulent — but it turns out we've got it easy. Astronomers have found a gas giant, 60 light years away from Earth, that's been hit with a violent flare from its star, blasting it with an intense wave of X-ray radiation. Because the exoplanet is so close to its sun, the radiation causes…
The sun is at it again, this time blasting its second magnetic bubble of energetic plasma in as many days. The blast is heading towards Earth at a speed of 1,360 kilometers per second and is expected to arrive on June 16.
On Tuesday night, the surface of the Sun erupted in an violent solar flare, blasting a massive wave of charged particles in the direction of Earth. And early this morning, those particles smashed into our planet's atmosphere.
Although we are ramping up to a high in solar activity, there's no reason to look at the sun with fear and horror. NASA has announced that a killer solar flare is a physical impossibility.
This video of an M class solar flare condenses three hours of explosion into a dramatic 1-minute video.
Earlier today, the Sun fired the biggest solar flare we've seen thus far in our current solar cycle. With an X-ray magnitude of X6.9, this flare was three times larger than the previous titleholder, a X2.2 from mid-February.
We all ooh and ahh when lightning zaps from one cloud to another, but when the cloud that gets hit is the one where we store our data, suddenly it's not so cool.