February 29, 2024

NASA probe detects the strongest solar flare since 2017

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During the most powerful eruption, the Sun throws plasma into space. This can cause aurora borealis on Earth.

MUNICH – Our Sun's activity is constantly increasing, and is expected to reach its peak in 2024. In the past few months, the atmosphere has been lively – there have been frequent violent outbursts that were visible on Earth like the northern lights. A particularly intense solar flare was recorded on 31 December 2023 at 8:55 pm (CET), classified as X5.0. This eruption originated in solar region 3536, which already produced an X2.8-magnitude eruption on December 14.

The intensity of solar flares is divided into categories – the lightest solar flares belong to category B, followed by categories C and M. The most violent flares are assigned to Category In 2003, the most powerful solar flare to date was recorded. Instruments failed at X17, which occurred later in the eruption According to NASA Estimated at about x45.

The Sun, as observed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft. The bright spot on the left is the X5.0 solar flare that occurred on December 31, 2023, the most powerful solar eruption since 2017. © NASA/SDO

Magnitude X solar flare before New Year's Day

According to NASA, powerful X-class explosions have the potential to “generate long-lasting radiation storms that can damage satellites.” It is also capable of “causing global transportation problems and global power outages.” Another phenomenon that can occur when a solar storm reaches Earth is the aurora borealis.

It could also happen when the solar storm caused by the December 31 eruption reaches Earth. He added: “The storm was expected to hit the ground hard, but it will last for less than one day.” said space weather physicist Tamitha Skov X (formerly Twitter). “Expect bright but short-lived aurora as well as interference of radio signals on the dark side of the Earth.”

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Space weather forecast: The northern lights are only expected at high latitudes

However, the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) predicts a G1 (small) geomagnetic storm only on January 2, the day the solar storm is expected to hit Earth. The SWPC description states: “The aurora borealis is usually visible at high latitudes.”

So you shouldn't expect much from the strongest solar flare of the current solar cycle on Earth in terms of the northern lights. Although this may be disappointing, there will still be plenty of opportunities for the northern lights in 2024, even at mid-latitudes. After all, the solar maximum has only just begun. One scientist believes that solar maximum typically lasts about three years. (unpaid bill)

The editor wrote this article and then used an AI language model to improve at her own discretion. All information has been carefully checked. Find out more about our AI principles here.