Sunspot Fires Off 6th Powerful Flare This Week

They call sunspots “active regions” for a reason.


Active Region 2673 (AR 2673) bloody out nonetheless another solar light early this morning (Sept. 8), a sixth heated detonate of high-energy deviation given Monday (Sept. 4).

The latest flare, that appearance during 3:49 a.m. EDT (0749 GMT), purebred as an M8.1 on scientists’ three-tiered sequence scale. (“C” flares are a weakest of a three, “M” flares are 10 times stronger than C’s, and “X” events are 10 times some-more heated than M’s. There is gamut within any category, too: An M8 light is 8 times stronger than an M1, for example.)  [The Sun’s Wrath: Worst Solar Storms in History]

Two of a 6 new flares from AR 2673 were X-class — including Wednesday’s (Sept. 6) monster X9.3, that was a many absolute solar light given 2005.

Strong solar flares are mostly accompanied by coronal mass ejections (CMEs), eruptions that send clouds of superheated solar plasma racing into space during several million miles per hour. CMEs that impact into Earth can trigger geomagnetic storms, that can temporarily interrupt energy grids and meddle with satellite communications, among other disastrous effects.

But geomagnetic storms also tend to ramp adult a northern and southern lights, fluctuating a strech of these gorgeous, resounding displays to scarcely low latitudes.

And some propitious skywatchers have gotten an halo eyeful this week, interjection to CMEs compared with an M-class light on Monday and Wednesday’s X9.3. Though this latter CME strike Earth with only a glancing blow, a charge it generated brought a northern lights within steer of viewers as distant south as Arkansas overnight Thursday (Sept. 7).

Unfortunately for skywatchers, that charge seems to be tapering off, and supercharged auroras substantially aren’t in a cards tonight or beyond, experts said.

“I can’t order it out, though we don’t consider a chances are good,” Bob Rutledge, of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) in Boulder, Colorado, told Space.com.

AR 2673 also continues to stagger divided from Earth toward a sun’s limb, so any other CMEs it blasts out in a nearby destiny expected won’t impact a planet, combined Rutledge, who leads SWPC’s foresee center.

Editor’s note: If we snap a print of a northern lights and you’d like to share it for a probable story or picture gallery, greatfully send images and comments to Space.com at spacephotos@space.com.

Follow Mike Wall on Twitter @michaeldwall and Google+. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook or Google+. Originally published on Space.com.


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