Astronomers have found the release of a solar flare late Monday (Oct. 22) with strong waves of radiation into space. These waves caused a little radio blackout on Earth.
This solar flare is ranked as an X1.8 solar flare, i.e. one of the most powerful types of solar flares, according to the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) run by NOAA and the National Weather Service. This flare erupted from the sun at the spot of AR 11598 (short for Active Region 11598) and achieved the peak level of brightness at 11:22 p.m. EDT (0322 GMT this morning, Oct. 23), as reported by the scientists working on NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a space telescope that constantly monitors the sun with high-definition cameras.
The same spot produced three potent flares in two days before this flare.
“This means more flares are probably in the offing, and they will become increasingly Earth-directed as the sunspot turns toward our planet in the days ahead,” astronomer Tony Phillips wrote on Spaceweather.com, a website tracking skywatching and space weather events.
This flare is a kind of an impulsive flare i.e. short lived type of solar eruption.
“Impulsive flares aren’t generally associated with severe space weather, and additionally, this region is still several days away from directly facing Earth from center disk,” SWPC officials wrote. “Nonetheless, the potential for continued activity remains, so stay tuned for updates as Region 1598 makes its way across the visible disk.”
Such sunspots produce solar flares when magnetic activity elevates there. Strength of solar flares is measured in terms of energy classes and X-class flares represent most powerful sun storms. Other classes are M storms with moderate strength and C class with weakest strength that has little effect on Earth.