Biggest Solar Flare in Years makes its Biggest Punch Tonight
Get your sunglasses out, cause depending on where you are in the world; you may be in for an illuminating treat tonight. It’s only been a few days since the most powerful solar flare, in more than 4 years exploded over the sun.
That blast of charged particles unleashed from the sun has been peppering the Earth over the last few days, but its biggest punch is expected to hit the Earth’s atmosphere today.
Monday’s eruption, considered an X-class flare, is already being blamed for disrupting radio communication in China, and could potentially affect power grids and satellite communication around the globe.
The most powerful explosions in the solar system, solar flares occur when magnetic field lines on the sun cross, cancel each other out, then reconnect. These “explosive reconnections” release huge amounts energy as heat—in this case, a short blast measuring roughly 35 million degrees Fahrenheit (19 million degrees Celsius), according to physicist Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO.
It isn’t expected to hit us dead-on, the most likely outcome from this latest space storm could be a colorful night sky over New England and even parts of New York State.
The China Meteorological Administration reported that Monday’s solar flare caused “sudden ionospheric disturbances” in the atmosphere above China and jammed short-wave radio communications in the southern part of the country.
And Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency reported there was a high probability that large solar flares would appear over the next three days. If you can’t wait until tonight, take a gander at the video for a preview.