Feeds

'Graceful' solar flare erupts from surface of Sun – NASA vid

Mid-level radiation explosion captured by SDO

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Video NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has released a video of a "graceful" solar flare erupting out of the Sun's surface on 2 April.

Youtube Video

The flare shows up on the Sun as sudden swirls of brightness, indicating the bursts of radiation in an M6.5 class eruption.

"“The image shows the flare in a blend of two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light: 131 Angstroms and 171 Angstroms, colourised in yellow and red, respectively,” NASA explained.

M-class flares are 10 times less powerful than the most intense flares, labelled X-class, which could theoretically cause a lot of damage on Earth. While a flare's harmful radiation can't get through our planet's atmosphere to affect us on the ground, it could disturb the atmosphere enough to disrupt GPS and communications.

It's when solar flares come alongside coronal mass ejections that humanity really has to watch out. The two events don't have to happen together, but they often do. In a CME, fluctuations in the Sun's magnetic fields cause a large portion of its surface to explode, shooting billions of tons of particles out into space in a huge magnetic shockwave. If the Earth was hit by one big enough, its own magnetic field could be unpredictably disrupted, frying electronics along with communications and navigational systems.

A solar flare's strength is counted on a scale as well as by letter, so an M2 class eruption is twice as intense as an M1, an M3 is three times as intense and so on, making last week's eruption a mid-level one. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Rosetta probot drilling DENIED: Philae has its 'LEG in the AIR'
NOT best position for scientific fulfillment
'Yes, yes... YES!' Philae lands on COMET 67P
Plucky probot aces landing on high-speed space rock - emotional scenes in Darmstadt
THERE it is! Philae comet lander FOUND in EXISTING Rosetta PICS
Crumb? Pixel? ALIEN? Better, it's a comet-catcher!
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
HUMAN DNA 'will be FOUND ON MOON' – rocking boffin Brian Cox
Crowdfund plan to stimulate Blighty's space programme
Post-pub nosh neckfiller: The MIGHTY Scotch egg
Off to the boozer? This delicacy might help mitigate the effects
I'M SO SORRY, sobs Rosetta Brit boffin in 'sexist' sexy shirt storm
'He is just being himself' says proud mum of larger-than-life physicist
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
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.
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.