HomeScience & TechNASA shared Sun unleashed X-class Powerful Solar Flares this week

NASA shared Sun unleashed X-class Powerful Solar Flares this week

US Space Agency NASA regularly shares stunning images from our universe, leaving the space lovers mesmerised. NASA’s social media handle is a treasure trove for those who love watching educational videos and fascinating images showcasing Earth and space. Now, in its recent post, the space agency delighted its Instagram followers with two GIFs (graphics interchange format) that captured the moment the Sun unleashed two powerful solar flares. These two energetic flashes erupted on May 7 and in the wee hours of May 8 from sunspots identified as AR3663 and AR3664.

“You make a loop-de-loop and pull, and your Sun is looking cool! Late at night on May 7 and in the wee hours of May 8, the Sun emitted this powerful pair of solar flares. These two energetic flashes with dancing loops were captured by @NASAGoddard’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which always has its eye on the Sun,” NASA wrote in the caption of the post.

“The Sun-like even the most vibrant people-is not a constant ray of sunshine. It constantly cycles through periods of higher and lower activity. High activity can lead to these solar flares, or dramatic explosions of energy out from the Sun,” NASA wrote.

According to the space agency, the Sun unleashed X-class solar flares this week. The GIFs show the dramatic flashes of tangled loops leaping from the surface of the Sun.

Notably, solar flares happen when powerful magnetic fields in and around the Sun reconnect. They are created when magnetic energy builds up in the solar atmosphere and is released.

Solar flares can be classified according to their strength. The most powerful ones – like the latest event – are known as “X-class” flares, while the weakest are categorised as “A-class”. Within each class, solar flares are also categorised using an even more detailed scale of strength that runs from 1 to 9.

“The number of solar flares increases every 11 years or so around what is called a solar maximum. Scientists expect the Sun’s activity to ramp up as we approach solar maximum; there have been 13 X-class solar flares so far this year,” NASA explained.

Solar flares themselves do not impact human beings negatively, they can only cause havoc to the technology due to the release of magnetic energy. “When directed at Earth, the most powerful flares could disrupt satellites, GPS signals, and radio communications. Because of that, a multitude of space and land-based instruments keep watch for potential impacts,” according to the space agency.

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