2 big SOLAR FLARES back-to-back this month!

  • Sep 16, 2014 10:46am GMT
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Two major solar flares erupted on Sept. 10th and 12th. It’s been several years since Earth has had a solar storm of this size coming from sunspots smack in the middle of the sun, said Tom Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo.

From my limited research and knowledge, it is apparently not responsible for California's current heat wave (which is still difficult for me to believe). On the upside, geomagnetic storms can also create brightly colored auroras in the skies. Many were spotted in the northern regions of the US. See some photos below.

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Solar flares or storms begin with an explosion usually above a sunspot, the area where strong magnetic fields poke through the sun's surface.

As the spots become unstable and explode, they release intense amounts of energy - the equivalent of 10 billion hydrogen bombs.

Called solar flares they resemble a flash of light and can reach earth within a short 8 minutes. When the flares hit either of the two poles, they excite the nitrogen and oxygen particles, resulting in what we call northern or southern lights.

The largest solar storm to ever hit earth was in 1859. It was called the Carrington Event after British astronomer Richard Carrington, who was the first scientist to connect the sun's activity with the Earth's geomagnetic disturbances. The storm was so powerful that the northern lights could be seen as far south as Cuba and Hawaii, while southern lights shone all the way up to Chile.They were rumored to be so bright that Northeastern USA residents used them to read newspapers! Though there were no satellites or GPS devices to destroy, the flares did set sparks and even burned down some telegraph equipment in the US. Resource