Sun emit a mid-level flare

November 13, 2012 by Karen C. Fox
By observing the sun in a number of different wavelengths, NASA's telescopes can tease out different aspects of events on the sun. These three images of a solar flare on Nov. 13, 2012, captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, show from left to right: light in the 304 Ångstrom wavelength, which shows light from the region of the sun's atmosphere where flares originate; light from the sun in the 193 Ångstrom wavelength, which shows the hotter material of a solar flare; and light in 335 Ångstroms, which highlights light from active regions in the corona. Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard Space Flight Center

(Phys.org)—On Nov. 13, 2012, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:04 p.m. EST.

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however—when intense enough—they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where (GPS) and communications signals travel. This disrupts the radio signals for as long as the flare is ongoing, anywhere from minutes to hours.

This flare is classified as an M6 flare. M- are the weakest flares that can still cause some space weather effects near Earth. They can cause brief at the poles. This M-class flare caused a radio blackout categorized according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association's Space Weather Scales as R2—or "moderate"—on a scale of R1 to R5. It has since subsided.

By observing the sun in a number of different wavelengths, NASA's telescopes can tease out different aspects of events on the sun.

Three images of a solar flare on Nov. 13, 2012, captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), showed light in the 304 Ångstrom wavelength, which shows light from the region of the sun's atmosphere where flares originate; light from the sun in the 193 Ångstrom wavelength, which shows the hotter material of a ; and light in 335 Ångstroms, which highlights light from active regions in the corona.

Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun's normal 11-year activity cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum, which is expected in 2013. Humans have tracked this solar cycle continuously since it was discovered in 1843, and it is normal for there to be many flares a day during the sun's peak activity.

The flare was not associated with a (CME), another solar phenomenon that can send into space and can reach Earth one to three days later.

Explore further: A new set of solar fireworks

Related Stories

A new set of solar fireworks

October 22, 2012

The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 2:14 p.m. EDT on Oct. 20, 2012. This flare is classified as an M9 flare. M-class flares are the weakest flares that can still cause some space weather effects near Earth. ...

NASA sees Sun send out mid-level solar flare

July 19, 2012

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare on July 19, 2012, beginning at 1:13 AM EDT and peaking at 1:58 AM. Solar flares are gigantic bursts of radiation that cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to harm humans on the ground, ...

NASA sees active region on the sun emit another flare

October 23, 2012

The sun emitted a significant solar flare on Oct. 22, 2012, peaking at 11:17 p.m. EDT. The flare came from an active region on the left side of the sun that has been numbered AR 1598, which has already been the source of ...

Emerging sunspot releases mid-level solar flare

August 20, 2012

(Phys.org) -- On August 17, the sun emitted a mid-level flare, peaking at 9:02 PM EDT. Solar flares are gigantic bursts of radiation that cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to harm humans on the ground, however when strong ...

Space Image: Sunspots and solar flares

March 21, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this image of an M7.9 class flare on March 13, 2012 at 1:29 p.m. EDT. It is shown here in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a wavelength particularly good for seeing ...

Recommended for you

Bursts of methane may have warmed early Mars

January 24, 2017

The presence of water on ancient Mars is a paradox. There's plenty of geographical evidence that rivers periodically flowed across the planet's surface. Yet in the time period when these waters are supposed to have run—three ...

Gaia turns its eyes to asteroid hunting

January 24, 2017

While best known for its surveys of the stars and mapping the Milky Way in three dimensions, ESA's Gaia has many more strings to its bow. Among them, its contribution to our understanding of the asteroids that litter the ...

Dwarf galaxies shed light on dark matter

January 23, 2017

The first sighting of clustered dwarf galaxies bolsters a leading theory about how big galaxies such as our Milky Way are formed, and how dark matter binds them, researchers said Monday.

One of the brightest distant galaxies known discovered

January 23, 2017

An international team led by researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) and the University of La Laguna (ULL) has discovered one of the brightest "non-active" galaxies in the early universe. Finding ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.