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Solar flare Facts

Sudden brightening observed over the Sun

  • Solar flare is a sudden brightening observed over the Sun surface or the solar limb, which is interpreted as a large energy release of up to 6 x 1025 joules of energy.
  • Solar flare from other stars is called a stellar flare.
  • They can produce streams of highly energetic particles in the solar wind, known as a solar proton event, or "coronal mass ejection" (CME). These particles can impact the Earth's magnetosphere and present radiation hazards to spacecraft, astronauts and cosmonauts.
  • Solar flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona into space.
  • Flares affect all layers of the solar atmosphere.
  • X-rays and UV radiation of the flares can effect Earth's ionosphere and disrupt long-range radio communications.
  • These were first observed on the Sun by Richard Christopher Carrington and independently by Richard Hodgson in 1859.
  • Flares are classified as A, B, C, M or X according to the peak flux.
  • Magnetic reconnection is responsible for the acceleration of the charged particles and hence flares occur.
  • Massive solar flares have been known to knock out electric power for extended periods of time.
  • The most powerful flare ever observed was the first one to be observed, on September 1, 1859. The event is named the Solar storm of 1859.
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