NASA releases stunning photos of solar explosions that spark solar flares

NASA detected two explosions on the sun's surface on Friday (May 10) and Saturday (May 11), which resulted in intense solar flares. Solar explosions that sent electromagnetic radiation toward Earth were captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

“The Sun emitted two strong solar flares on May 10-11, 2024, peaking at 9:23 p.m. EDT on May 10 and at 7:44 a.m. EDT on May 11. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory reported the events. “, which were classified as X5.8 and X1.5 category flares,” NASA said in a statement.

What arose from these intense solar flares was a divine extravaganza. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued an alarm as multiple coronal mass ejections (CMEs) approached our planet.

This cosmic spectacle played out for skywatchers around the world, with beautiful auroras painting the sky in brilliant pink, green and purple hues. Sky-watchers in Northern Europe and Tasmania, Australia were able to witness this unusual phenomenon.

Although fascinating, solar storms can be dangerous to technology infrastructure. Geomagnetic storms can cause magnetic field fluctuations, which can disrupt power grids, communications networks, and satellite operations.

The science behind solar flares: understanding the phenomenon

According to the European Space Agency (ESA), a solar flare is a giant explosion on the Sun that occurs when energy trapped in 'twisted' magnetic fields (often above sunspots) is suddenly released. In a short period of time, they can heat the material to millions of temperatures, causing a sudden release of radiation ranging from radio waves to X-rays and gamma rays.

Solar flares are classified by scientists based on their peak brightness at X-ray wavelengths. There are five categories, listed in order from most intense to least intense – X-class flares, M-class flares, C-class flares, B-class flares, and A-class flares.

(with inputs from agencies)

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