The sun just shot out the biggest solar flare in nearly 20 years

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Over the weekend, a solar storm brought the northern lights to much of the U.S. Just days later, the sun let out an even bigger solar flare.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The sun produced its biggest flare in nearly two decades Tuesday, just days after severe solar storms pummeled Earth and created dazzling northern lights in unaccustomed places.

“Not done yet!” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced in an update.

It’s the biggest flare of this 11-year solar cycle, which is approaching its peak, according to NOAA. The good news is that Earth should be out of the line of fire this time because the flare erupted on a part of the sun rotating away from Earth.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the bright flash of the X-ray flare. It was the strongest since 2005, rated on the scale for these flares as X8.7.

Bryan Brasher at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado said it may turn out to have been even stronger when scientists gather data from other sources.

It follows nearly a week of flares and mass ejections of coronal plasma that threatened to disrupt power and communications on Earth and in orbit. An ejection associated with Tuesday’s flare appeared to have been directed away from our planet, although analysis is ongoing, Brasher noted.

NASA said the weekend geomagnetic storm caused one of its environmental satellites to rotate unexpectedly because of reduced altitude from the space weather, and go into a protective hibernation known as safe mode. And at the International Space Station, the seven astronauts were advised to stay in areas with strong radiation shielding. The crew was never in any danger, according to NASA.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.

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