Wednesday May 22, 2024

Sun spits out strongest 'monster' flare in 19 years

Monster flare is strongest of current solar cycle

By Web Desk
May 15, 2024
Sun emits strongest X-class solar flare in nearly two decades — Nasa
Sun emits strongest X-class solar flare in nearly two decades — Nasa

The Sun recently spat out the most powerful solar flare of the current solar cycle, which started in 2019, as per a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center.

This solar flare is the strongest to have been recorded in 19 years or nearly two decades. The last flare of this sort happened in 2005, which was captured by Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory, according to AP.

Making it considerably stronger than the X2.2 flare that erupted from the Sun last week, the monster flare is a category X8.7. It also triggered radio blackouts and widespread auroras on Earth that were visible as far south as Mexico, according to Live Science.

As the sunspot group responsible for the blast is located at the very edge of the visible side of the Sun, the latest flare is unlikely to result in any geomagnetic storms or aurora activity, according to NOAA. However, Earth is still likely to experience high-frequency radio blackouts.

If the flare gives away any coronal mass ejections (CMEs) — gigantic, high-speed plumes of charged solar particles — they are not likely to affect the Earth directly.

“That said, the same monster group of sunspots — which is called active sunspot region 3664 and measures more than 15 Earths wide — is responsible for both last week's X2.2 flare and today's X8.7 flare,” NOAA reported.