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Monster solar flare erupts

Discussion in 'International Forum' started by BabuK, Feb 27, 2011.

  1. BabuK

    BabuK JF-Expert Member

    Feb 27, 2011
    Joined: Jul 30, 2008
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    The sun unleashed a powerful flare Thursday (Feb.24) that – while not the strongest solar storm ever seen – let loose a massive wave of magnetic plasma in a dazzling display.

    The solar flare kicked up a huge, twisting tendril of plasma that scientists call a solar prominence. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the flare in an eye-catching video, with mission scientists calling the eruption a "monster prominence."
    Some of the material blew out into space and other portions fell back to the surface," NASA scientists wrote in a statement released Friday (Feb. 25). [Amazing Sun Photos from Space]

    Dazzling sun flare

    Thursday's solar flare was the latest in a series of strong sun storms this month. Scientists classified it as an M3.6 Class solar storm. NASA described the solar eruption as a "rather large-sized flare."

    Scientists use a three-class system to measure the strength and intensity of solar flares. The most powerful sun storms are Class X – a Class X2.2 solar flare erupted on Feb. 14. Class M solar storms are medium strength but still powerful, according to a NASA description. The weakest types of solar flares are Class C storms.

    Thursday's solar flare erupted from a new spot on the sun called sunspot 1163, according to the website, which monitors space weather and skywatching events. The flare was not aimed at Earth, and so should not pose a concern to satellites or other systems.

    "Earth was little affected," reported Friday. "Plasma clouds produced by the blast did not come our way."