Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Watch Three X Class Flares Fire Off From Sun

The sun has been pretty active lately, firing off three X class flares in a 24 hour window on Monday.  None of these flares were directed in Earth's direction so impacts on communication and Aurora sightings are not likely over the next couple of nights.

The strongest of these ranked at X3.2, which has the equivalent energy to the detonation of "millions of hundred megaton hydrogen bombs."

In solar flare terminology, flares are ranked in one of five classes.  The "weakest" are A, B, or C-class flares and typically do little damage to communications and A, B flares are rarely talked about.  M-class are the second strongest of the five, with X class taking the top of the ranking.

The other X flares registered at 2.8 and 1.7.  Each increase in whole number (1 to 2, 2 to 3) represents a doubling of energy from the whole number below.

The 3.2 flare registers as the third strongest flare of the current solar cycle, which has been going on since 2011.