Feeds

Sun spews out massive solar flare

Likely to switch on Northern Lights

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

The Britsh Geological Survey yesterday issued a space weather warning following the ejection of three substantial solar flares from the Sun's surface.

On 13 February, "rapidly growing" sunspot 1158 let rip with an ominous-sounding "M6.6-category X-ray irradiance magnitude blast" - the strongest of the year to that date, and which you can see just below the centre of the Sun's disc in this snap from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO):

NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory image of flare coming from sunspot 1158

M-class flares are medium-strength solar eruptions, but the Sun quickly topped its first outburst at 01:56 GMT on Tuesday morning, blasting out a monster weighing in at X2.2 on the "solar Richter scale" of most powerful events.

It was the first X-class flare since the latest cycle of solar activity began in 2010, and the biggest for some years.

Phil Chamberlin, SDO deputy project scientist, told Space.com: "It has been the largest flare since 6 December, 2006, so a long time coming. There were some clues that led us to believe the likelihood of moderate to large flares (M class or above) could occur, but we were all surprised when it actually happened to be a large X-class."

The latest outpouring is no match for the X28+ monster recorded on 4 November 2003, and its effects will most probably manifest themselves in increased Northern Lights activity over the coming couple of days.

You might be able to catch the show at less northerly latitudes than normal "if skies are clear and the activity peaks in your local night-time", BGS helpfully adds. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
ANU boffins demo 'tractor beam' in water
The current state of the art, apparently
China to test recoverable moon orbiter
I'll have some rocks and a moon cheese pizza please, home delivery
NASA's rock'n'roll shock: ROLLING STONE FOUND ON MARS
No sign of Ziggy Stardust and his band
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
Why your mum was WRONG about whiffy tattooed people
They're a future source of RENEWABLE ENERGY
Vulture 2 spaceplane autopilot brain surgery a total success
LOHAN slips into some sexy bespoke mission parameters
Another step forward for diamond-based quantum computers
Square cut or pear-shaped, these qubits don't lose their shape
LOHAN acquires aircraft arboreal avoidance algorithm acronyms
Is that an ARMADILLO in your PANTS or are you just pleased to see me?
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.