24June2019

Visuals: Largest solar flare in five years hits Earth

‘Largest solar flare in five years hits Earth:

  • ‘X-class’ flare is most powerful kind of solar flare
  • Two years of violent solar storms predicted
  • After a large solar flare in August, this is the biggest since 2007, according to the US space agency Nasa.

Images: Largest solar flare in five years hits Earth

The sun's activity on March 8, 2012. A strong geomagnetic storm is racing from the Sun toward Earth
The sun’s activity on March 8, 2012. A strong geomagnetic storm is racing from the sun towards Earth
Heading our way! A Nasa handout photo shows the massive solar flare that could affect power grids, GPS and airplane flights
Heading our way! A Nasa handout photo shows the massive solar flare that could affect power grids, GPS and plane flights – although no incidents have so far been reported
The X1 solar flare in a new active region on the sun, region 1429. It has let loose two M-class flares and one X-class so far
The X1 solar flare in a new active region on the sun, region 1429. It has let loose two M-class flares and one X-class so far. Material erupted from the sun with each flare, though due to the fact that this active region is still off to the side of the sun, they will likely have a weak effect on Earth’s magnetosphere
Restless: The Sun is in a period of intense activity that will peak next year. This Nasa picture was taken today
Restless: The sun is in a period of intense activity that will peak next year. This Nasa picture was taken today
Hot stuff: An image acquired by the Solar Dynamics Observatory today that captures the sunspots with amazing clarity
Hot stuff: An image acquired by the Solar Dynamics Observatory today that captures the sunspots with amazing clarity
The sun-spot group 1429 is seen on the surface of the Sun on this photo taken from Salgotarjan, 109 kms northeast of Budapest, Hungary
The sun-spot group 1429 is seen on the surface of the sun on this photo taken from Salgotarjan, 109 km northeast of Budapest, Hungary
The explosions on the sun created a 'coronal mass ejection' which sent a large amount of charged particles into space, but they are expected to avoid Earth because the sun spots are off to the side of our star
The explosions on the sun created a ‘coronal mass ejection’ which sent a large amount of charged particles into space, but they are expected to avoid Earth because the sun spots are off to the side of our star
This flare was categorized as an X5.4, making it the second largest flare -- after an X6.9 on August 9, 2011 -- since the sun's activity segued into a period of relatively low activity called solar minimum in early 2007
This flare was categorized as an X5.4, making it the second largest flare — after an X6.9 on August 9, 2011 — since the sun’s activity segued into a period of relatively low activity called solar minimum in early 2007
This extreme ultraviolet wavelength image provided by NASA provides another look at a solar flare, which could also force airlines to reroute
This extreme ultraviolet wavelength image provided by NASA provides another look at a solar flare, which could also force airlines to reroute
This colour-coded image combines observations made by Nasa in several extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, highlighting a bright X-class flare toward the upper left on March 6
This colour-coded image combines observations made by Nasa in several extreme ultraviolet wavelengths, highlighting a bright X-class flare toward the upper left on March 6
PHOTO: An X1.4 class flare erupted from the center of the sun, peaking on July 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM EDT.
An X1.4 class flare erupted from the center of the sun, peaking on July 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM EDT. (NASA)

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