Sun bursts with largest solar flare since 2017

By Brian Lada,

The sun is bursting with activity at a level that hasn't been seen in nearly a decade.

In less than 24 hours, the sun fired off three X-class solar flares, the highest magnitude on the scale used to measure the intensity of flares.


The third was the strongest of the bunch and was "the most powerful flare since the great solar storms of September 2017," explained.

An image of the X6.3 solar flare that occurred on the sun on Thursday. Image courtesy of NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Solar flares of this magnitude can temporarily disrupt high-frequency radio signals on Earth, but NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center debunked any speculation that the flares were related to the cellphone outages reported across the United States on Thursday.

"While solar flares can affect communication systems, radar and the Global Positioning System, based on the intensity of the eruption and associated phenomena, it is highly unlikely that these flares contributed to the widely reported cellular network outages," the SWPC said in a statement Thursday.

Despite the intensity of the recent activity on the sun, it is unlikely that the X-class flares will result in outbursts of the aurora on Earth.


For the aurora to form on Earth, solar flares need to hurl massive clouds of charged particles, known as coronal mass ejections, toward the planet. No significant CMEs were detected from the triplet of solar flares.

There is still hope for aurora lovers.

The region of the sun that sparked the tremendous solar flares could generate more in the coming days, meaning there is still a chance of an aurora-inducing event to unfold in the heavens.

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