NASA captures image of Sun emitting mid-level flare

Solar flares are vigorous bursts of electromagnetic radiation that could last from minutes to hours.

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Friday, January 21, 2022, 10:28 AM IST
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Twitter/NASA

Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on Thursday captured an image of the Sun emitting a medium-level solar flare that reached its peak at 1.01 am EST (11.31am IST). Solar flares are vigorous bursts of electromagnetic radiation that could last from minutes to hours. Nasa categorized the flare as an M5.5 class flare, an x-ray flare of moderate severity.

“The Sun emitted a significant solar flare early this morning, peaking at 1:01 a.m. ET. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured an image of the event, which was classified as M5.5," the US space agency said.

While dangerous radiation from a flare cannot traverse Earth's atmosphere to physically harm humans on the ground, when severe, it can have an effect on radio communications, navigation signals, electric power grids, and pose threats to spacecraft and astronauts, Hindustan Times reports. As per Nasa, the increased level of X-ray and immense ultraviolet radiation causes ionization in the lower layers of the ionosphere on the sunlit side of our planet.

When a strong enough solar flare emerges, radio waves that interact with electrons in layers lose energy owing to the more frequent collisions that take place in the higher density environment in the lower layers of the ionosphere. This could result into degradation and complete absorption of HF radio signals, leading to a radio blackout.

“Solar flares usually take place in active regions, which are areas on the Sun marked by the presence of strong magnetic fields; typically associated with sunspot groups. As these magnetic fields evolve, they can reach a point of instability and release energy in a variety of forms. These include electromagnetic radiation, which are observed as solar flares,” Space Weather Prediction Center of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says on its website.

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