NASA Discovers Recent Solar Flare Largest in Sun Cycle

Love wasn’t the only thing sparking heat on Valentine’s Day. According to NASA, the sun released the largest solar flare in four years! X-Class came from the sunspot 1158 on the surface and is expected to reach earth by mid week.

Solar flares occur when magnetic energy in the sun’s atmosphere build up and explodes, catapulting radiation in short and long wavelengths at around 900 km/second out into the universe. The energy is only 1/10 the amount emitted directly from the sun on a regular basis.

If confusion as to what these spectacles are, recall the Hollywood movie Knowing starring Nicolas Cage. The main culprit was not an earthly made bomb or human induced problem, but merely a giant solar flare that completely destroys the earth.

Just to be specific and not to start a panic, the solar flare which occurred a few days ago WILL NOT kill all life on earth! It’s not even something to worry about.

In addition to launching radiation at earth, a CME or coronal mass ejection is also on the way. A CME is the technical term for solar winds. It shouldn’t have any harm to human life, however, radio blackouts and satellite disruption are plausible since the flare will disturb the earth’s magnetic field.

Perhaps having my internet and cell phone go out for a few hours would be the same as a relaxing vacation in some tropical resort. I shall whip up a Piña Colada and keep my fingers are crossed!

NASA said 2011 is the peak of the suns 11 year cycle and will output more frequent flares than the normal years. The largest flare ever recorded occurred on September 1, 1859 and was dubbed the “Solar Storm of 1859.” Aurora’s could be seen without equipment and spread down to the lower latitudes.

Scientists study all types of flares from the small to massive ones which slam the earth. An article from Universe Today back in October of 2009 stated the satellite MESSENGER was able to collect 10-12 hours worth of data from an average sized flare.

From that episode, scientists were able to conclude that when sun flares happen, they emit constant streams of neutrons and less than 10% of ions make it past the suns magnetic field. The ones that make it are decayed and gain energy from the sudden acceleration off the surface.

Other than satellites, the largest concern is for space shuttles and any astronauts in the outer atmosphere when the flare reaches earth. Considering NASA’s current budget crisis, this scenario should be at a minimum and not affect any U.S. missions.

Locals can expect to see nothing from the city lights of Los Angeles and the storms that have finally reached us. Aurora’s were expected to be seen in the night sky around February 16th and 17th in the upper latitudes of the world and not so much here in LA.

If you’re a bigger science nut than I am, might I suggest jumping in the car and driving up towards the Canadian border? Consume an energy drink to stay awake for 23-25 hours of cruising the highway.

For those few people that need reminders on looking at the sun safely, NASA urges spectators NOT to look directly at the sun for a visual of these flares. Specialized equipment at observatories should provide what is necessary for viewing sun flares.

  • Great stuff – well written and inspiring as ever.

  • Wthorstad Usaloe

    The Earth Will Take Care of Herself and Always Has Throughout History. All this talk of Doom is sooooo ridiculous, but if anything we learn from this paranoia, it should be this. WE DO NOT OWN THIS WORLD and ARE NOT ITS RULERS as so many believe. This is NOT a religious statement or piece, just simple fact. The outrageous majority of Human Beings on this Earth believe they are the rulers of this planet and should be given a lobotomy, as this thinking is exactly why we do not have peace and tolerance for each other. STAY HUMBLE my friends, YOU ARE ONLY A PIECE OF THE PUZZLE, although a very important one as is all of us. Do not take life for granted, and be thankful for each day and experience. A person with that train of thought will see beauty in everything and the Natural Justice from caring and helping one another will begin to reign in their lives. Hence, setting the example for others that should be the Norm. Thanks for allowing my vent. Not preaching, just reminding myself of my place. If it should help you, so much the better.

  • Dr-Knowlage

    Well its pretty obvious that something is going on with our planet there has been so many major weather events on the planet since Christmas (2011) Australia, Brazil, etc. and the amount of volcanic activity has risen by 30% in the past two year’s it could be a sign that something big could happen in the near future or it could just be a weather patern that happens and repeats itself every 100 to a 1 000 000 years whos knows???

  • Papa Smurf

    http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/2012.html

    They say here that nothing big will happen in 2012, yet this is the biggest flare yet. What does that mean? In our hearts we all know our path, no need to be sheltered in fear, just don’t get caught up unprepared. Oh yeah, sunscreen anyone? My skin tingles.

  • Arny

    LETS START A REVOLUTION

  • OMG we gonna die we gonna die

  • Anonymous

    Here comes the sun, little darling
    Here comes the sun, and I say
    (guitar interlude)

  • Let’s Wait Until The Last Chance

  • ohhh…….

    • Arny

      Strange how everything has gone up in price and (they) the government has said we r in debt. I think its a mass plan for them 2 build bunkers etc by using tax payers money. Srtrange how theres alot of solar activity aswell just to welcome 2012 end of days.

  • Irizarry502

    WELL WE HEAR THAT SO MANY THINGS ARE GOING ON IN THIS WORLD… WHICH TOO SAY IS UNFAIR WHEN THE TRUE INFORMATION IS NOT GIVEN OUT TOO THE PUBLIC… WHAT LIES DO WE BELIEVE IN… THE WORLD HAS ITS COURSE WE WILL SOON REALIZE THAT.

  • H Holyarrow

    nasa is saying the sun is reaching solar maximum in 2013. Doomsday is supposedly on dec.21,2012… coincidence

    • Montegue97

      doomsday will happen much much sooner if Americans keep putting the likes of ‘failin’ Palin in a position to control ANYTHING but her mouth!!

      The rich are building bunkers and now are behind giving money for planetary exploration that will search for a new home (because they are destroying this one)

      • WixMister

        Paranoia people !!!! Ridiculous !!!! It was a simple solar flare, of which we have hundreds every year. This was just a little stronger. This kind of thinking happens every time an unusual event occurs, ie: Global Warming, Volcanoes waking, Unusual severe weather etc., and all the while strays peoples mind to doom. If anything, events should keep a persons mind humble and remind them of their place. The Earth has continuously taken care of herself throughout History. She just reminds us that we are indeed NOT the owners. I wished people would realize that!!!

    • Arny

      i agree m8

  • Raelanna

    really

  • Gamer606342

    i have been monitoring things though noaa and it seems like some power outages are likely in many places where look for the reports its like a thunder storm tell me where the lighting will strike if the storm is very big then we know it will strike somewhere

    well its more complicated that but noaa rates this as a g1 but the damage is likely to notable allot of it we will not notice until we all turn our air conditioners

    well i guess that is part of why they are shutting down allot power plants as they know they will not be able to distribute all that power so rather then own up to the fact its outside of our control they blame it on carbon once again never mind the amount of carbon a signal volcano puts into the air enough to equal more then what humans have done in the past 100 years and these volcanoes are going off 2-3 a year and i know this year 2 have already blown their tops

    yep its all connected to the almighty sun earthquakes volcanic eruption and even the short term weather as well as long term weather though volcanic carbon releases

  • Ley879

    Ahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahhahhaahahahahahhahahahaha !

  • Lellypadilla

    Ahhhhhhhhhhhh !

  • SO if your phone starts to acting all f@#$%&? up this solar flareis the reason.

    • John Graham56

      Yes, as the charged particals reach the earths atmosphere they disrupt the magnasphere witch has an effect on all electrial activites on the surface, including tranmittions from cell phones.

  • SO if your phone starts to acting all f@#$%&? up this solar flareis the reason.

    • Lely879

      eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee