Feeds

The Sun ERUCTATES huge ball of GAS at 4 MILLION MPH

Nothing to worry about, however – at least for a week or so

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Pics & video NASA has published images and a video of a massive solar flare that the sun belched forth at 4.4 million miles per hour, which lasted from 0039 until 0103 UTC on Tuesday morning, and reached its peak at 0049.

Different wavelengths reveal different details of the X-class solar flare (click to enlarge)

The images were captured by the space agency's orbiting Solar Dynamics Observatory, the mission masters of which, in a blog post aptly titled "Whoa, an X4.9 Flare!", revealed it to be a massive coronal mass ejection, indeed – the largest of this year.

By comparison, the most massive such flare of all of 2013 was an X3.3.

X-class flares are the most intense of such solar events, NASA explained in its release of the images and video. The number following the X in the flare's designation indicates its relative intensity, with an X2 flare being twice as intense as an X1, and so on.

NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory video of X-class solar flare of February 24, 2014

Don't don your favorite tinfoil hat for protection, however. As NASA explains, harmful radiation from such an event can't pass through the Earth's atmosphere to mess with we puny humans on terra firma. It can, however, "disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel."

The US National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center's analysis will also allay any fears you might have. "Although impressive," they write, "the source of this event is well off the Sun-Earth line and the coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with this event is not headed directly at Earth."

They do note, however, that the region of the Sun from which the X4.9 CME was ejected is currently rotating to face the Earth, and that it will be aimed more directly at us in a week or so.

"Stay tuned for updates," they advise. ®

Eight steps to building an HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 claimed lives of HIV/AIDS cure scientists
Researchers, advocates, health workers among those on shot-down plane
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Mwa-ha-ha-ha! Eccentric billionaire Musk gets his PRIVATE SPACEPORT
In the Lone Star State, perhaps appropriately enough
MARS NEEDS OCEANS to support life - and so do exoplanets
Just being in the Goldilocks zone doesn't mean there'll be anyone to eat the porridge
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Diary note: Pluto's close-up is a year from … now!
New Horizons is less than a year from the dwarf planet
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
prev story

Whitepapers

Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.