facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Record-breaking solar flare described

June 11, 2012 at 6:29 PM   |   Comments

GREENBELT, Md., June 11 (UPI) -- A NASA space telescope detected the highest-energy light ever measured in an eruption on the sun during a powerful solar blast, the space agency has reported.

The powerful solar flare, observed March 7 by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, produced such an outpouring of gamma rays -- a form of light with even greater energy than X-rays -- that the sun briefly became the brightest object in the gamma-ray sky, NASA said Monday.

"For most of Fermi's four years in orbit, its LAT saw the sun as a faint, steady gamma-ray source thanks to the impacts of high-speed particles called cosmic rays," Nicola Omodei, an astrophysicist at Stanford University, said. "Now we're beginning to see what the sun itself can do."

The March flare produced high-energy gamma rays for about 20 hours, two and a half times longer than any event on record, researchers said.

Solar eruptions are increasing as the sun moves toward the peak of its roughly 11-year-long activity cycle, expected in mid-2013, they said.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
6,000-year-old temple discovered in prehistoric Ukraine settlement 6,000-year-old temple discovered in prehistoric Ukraine settlement
2
NASA orbiter beams back images of Siding Spring comet NASA orbiter beams back images of Siding Spring comet
3
An ancient tsunami wrecked Hawaii; it could happen again An ancient tsunami wrecked Hawaii; it could happen again
4
DC drone hobbyists in limbo over flying locations DC drone hobbyists in limbo over flying locations
5
Study: Fish just wanna have fun Study: Fish just wanna have fun
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback