On March 22, Sun emitted the most intense solar flares that are capable enough to impact radio communications, electric power grids and pose risks to astronauts.
It was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory which classified it as an “X-Class flare”—the most intense category of solar flares.
Solar flares are powerful bursts of energy. They are capable of “impacting radio communications, electric power grids, navigation signals, and pose risks to spacecraft and astronauts,” NASA stated.
The mesmerising images were captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
According to the US space agency, X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, and similarly X3 is three times as intense, etc.
Moreover, there were 17 of these solar flares that were caught exploding from Sun by NASA on Monday. At least two were fired towards the Earth’s direction, reports the New York Post.
Even though these solar flares are capable enough to cause geomagnetic storms that can disrupt the functioning of the satellite, the ones directed towards the Earth were of low intently and posed no threat.
In the past, large solar flares have wreaked havoc on our planet.
In March 1989, a solar flare and accompanying coronal mass ejections caused the entire power grid in Quebec, Canada to lose power. The event was later referred to as “the day the sun brought darkness.”
A huge X1.3 class solar flare flashed in center of the Sun on Mar. 30, 2022.
This animated gif was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows a blend of light from the 171 and 131 angstrom wavelengths.
(Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO) pic.twitter.com/vJ0KUKvqWo
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Apart from harming our technologies, these solar flares can hinder astronauts working on the International Space Station, either through radiation exposure or by interfering with mission control communications.
The Earth’s magnetic field helps to protect us from the more extreme consequences of solar flares.
(With inputs from agencies)