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
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
2
Latest Ebola outbreak spreading much faster than in the past Latest Ebola outbreak spreading much faster than in the past
3
Physicists teleport photon over 15 miles Physicists teleport photon over 15 miles
4
Shellfish-inspired waterproof glue could help repair ships Shellfish-inspired waterproof glue could help repair ships
5
Pennsylvania officials issue $4.15 million fine to fracking company Pennsylvania officials issue $4.15 million fine to fracking company
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback