Feeds

The Sun ERUCTATES huge ball of GAS at 4 MILLION MPH

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

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

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. ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.