It wouldn’t be a new day on Earth if the Sun didn’t rise. An unequivocal certainty is our star which, as the marvelous ones demonstrate images captured by NASA, it is far from dormant. Indeed, the Sun is more active than ever, a “dynamic object” as the astronomers of the American space agency define it, who have managed to observe (and photograph) one of the solar flares more intense than ever.
Because the sun keeps exploding
“The Sun emitted a strong solar flare, peaking at 4:25 pm EDT on October 2, 2022“, this is the official communication of the Solar Dynamics Observatory of NASA, a mission (and related team of scientists) that deals precisely with the constant monitoring and observation of activities affecting the solar surface, and beyond.
Our star has never been so active and, in particular, NASA images show us for the first time one of the most intense solar flares ever observed. Astronomers have it classified as X1, where the letter X refers precisely to the class of the glow (the highest) and the number indicates, instead, the value of its strength (in this case 1 out of 9). A tangible proof of how we are progressing towards the highest peak of solar activitywhere flares occur more and more frequently.
The images captured by NASA are nothing short of fascinating, just like their description: “The Sun envelops most of the image with eddies of solar activity visible across its entire surface – reports the Solar Dynamics Observatory – in shades of orange that differ from dark rusty orange to almost bright yellow orange compared to the heat of solar materials. Among the swirling shades of orange, there are some bright near-white regions of the Sun that highlight the extremely hot material of the solar flare eruptions. Along the outer periphery of the Sun, its light permeates the darkness of space creating blurry appearances at their intersection. The background of the image is the darkness of space “.
What is a solar flare
The one observed last October 2 by the Solar Dynamics Observatory is one of the most intense ever recorded, but solar flares are practically constant activities on the surface of the Sun. powerful bursts of energy that create an eruption of electromagnetic radiation from the solar atmosphere, as well as the most powerful explosive events in our Solar System. “The most powerful flashes have energy equivalent to one billion hydrogen bombsenough energy to power the entire world for 20,000 years, “explains NASA.
Is solar flare dangerous for the Earth?
Considered that the light takes about 8 minutes to travel from the Sun to the Earth, the same applies to the energy emitted by a glow on the solar atmosphere. But does all this represent a danger to our planet or can we rest assured?
It is true that solar flares hit the Earth, but only when they occur on the side of the Sun facing our Planet and the effects obviously depend on the class they belong to (B, C, M and X, from least to most intense). When the solar radiation reach us, the earth’s atmosphere takes care of absorbing most of them, so in fact it is highly unlikely that they could represent a direct danger for the humans who populate the Earth.
But there are still some risk factors. As NASA well explains, the solar flares of greater intensity can have an impact on some of our technologies, in particular on high frequency radio used for navigation and GPS: electricity surges and scintillations in the ionosphere lead to radio signal blackouts that can last for minutes or even hours. Finally, the flashes represent a danger for the spacecraft and astronauts orbiting outside the Earth’s atmosphere.
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