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Sun Unleashes Major Solar Flare

Sun Unleashes Major Solar Flare

by Monty Webb

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 9, 2014 at 12:47 AM

Updated Thursday, Jan 9 at 12:50 AM

HUGE SOLAR FLARE

NASA is reporting that a massive solar flare erupted from the Sun Tuesday, January 7.   The solar flare is associate with one of the largest sunspot groups seen on the Sun's surface in a decade!    The sunspot is currently in the middle of the Sun as seen from earth.  NASA officials say it is as wide as seven Earths!

The Space Weather Prediction Center is expecting the flare to spark geomagnetic storms in the Earth's magnetic field over the next couple of days.  While this sounds a bit scary, we will see little affects here on Earth.

Tuesday's huge flare was an X 1.2-class solar flare event.  X-class flares are the most powerful solar storm on the Sun.  When aimed directly at the Earth, X-class solar flares can pose a risk to high altitude flights, Astronauts aboard the International Space Station will take shelter inside the station.  Solar flare can also cause problems with communication and navigational (GPS) satellites. 

Solar storms create the Northern Lights and with large storms like this one they can often be seen in the continental U.S.  It will be interesting to see how far south the North Lights travel with this storm.  But, don't get your hopes up on seeing them here, we will be cloudy for overnight for the next several days.

 

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