Looking Back: The Record Flare for Solar Cycle 24

  • Released Friday, May 16th, 2014
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:50PM
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On August 9, 2011 at 3:48 a.m. EDT, the sun emitted an Earth-directed X6.9 flare, as measured by the NOAA GOES satellite. These gigantic bursts of radiation cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to harm humans on the ground, however they can disrupt the atmosphere and disrupt GPS and communications signals. In this case, it appears the flare is strong enough to potentially cause some radio communication blackouts. It also produced increased solar energetic proton radiation — enough to affect humans in space if they do not protect themselves.

As of March 2014, this flare is the largest of solar cycle 24.

Here are the raw images used in creating the components in Sun Unleashes X6.9 Class Flare on August 9, 2011



Credits

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio, the SDO Science Team, and the Virtual Solar Observatory.


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