An Extremely Strong Solar Flare Erupts From The Sun

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On January 5, 2023, at 7:57 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT), the Sun reached the height of a powerful solar flare. Images of the event were acquired by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), an instrument that monitors the Sun on an ongoing basis.

Solar flares are intense outbursts of energy that come from the sun. Solar eruptions and flares have the potential to interfere with radio transmissions, electrical power grids, as well as navigation signals, in addition to putting spacecraft and astronauts in harm’s way.
This flare has been assigned the classification of X1.2. The most intense sort of solar flare is known as an X-class solar flare, and this type of flare is classed according to the peak flux of X-rays that are released by the flare. Flares of the X-class may be further subdivided into a number of subclasses, with X1 being the least powerful and X9 being the most powerful.

X1.2 Solar Flare January 2023
Credit: NASA

A solar flare that belongs to the X1 class but is noticeably more powerful than the typical X1 flare is referred to as an X1.2 solar flare. In particular, the peak flux of an X1.2 solar flare is calculated to be 1.2 x 10-4 W/m2. This is still a really strong event, and it has the potential to significantly interrupt radio communications as well as GPS signals on Earth. Additionally, it has the potential to create a sizeable quantity of solar energetic particles (SEPs), which are dangerous to both spacecraft and the humans that are on them.

The Solar Dynamics Observatory is a spacecraft that was launched by NASA in 2010 with the purpose of researching the Sun and the ways in which it affects Earth. It is a component of the Living with a Star (LWS) program of NASA, which aims to investigate the factors that contribute to solar variability and the effects that this has on Earth. The Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft is outfitted with a collection of equipment that provide it the capability to view the Sun in a variety of light wavelengths, including ultraviolet, visible, and extreme ultraviolet light. The data gathered by the SDO is being used to increase our knowledge of the magnetic field of the Sun, its solar wind, and how the activity of the Sun impacts the temperature and ecosystem of Earth.

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