The Sun emitted its strongest solar flare in 6 years

The Sun emitted its strongest solar flare in 6 years

In a blog post on Thursday, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory observed an X2.8 solar flare — making it the most powerful flare emitted from the Sun since 2017.

Accompanying this monstrous burst of energy was a coronal mass ejection (CME), according to, which is a massive burst of solar plasma. This particular CME is believed to have an “Earth-directed component,” moving at an estimated speed exceeding 2,100 km/s (4.7 million mph).


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While the Earth’s atmosphere protects us from harmful radiation, CMEs can cause geomagnetic storms that can disrupt GPS and communication satellites. “[X2.8] caused a deep shortwave radio blackout over the Americas,” wrote.

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A flare of this size is not unexpected. The Sun is currently going through its version of a “hurricane season,” a cycle of weather that, for our planet’s star, lasts 11 years. The current cycle, Solar Cycle 25, is expected to reach its peak between January and October of next year, as predicted by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Solar flares are measured based on their strength, with B-Class being the smallest and X being the strongest. X-class flares do have the potential to cause disruptions to our telecommunications array, but it’s rare, and scientists have been observing the Sun for hundreds of years.

While there have been X-class flares that have been spotted in the last year or so (there have been 21 since 2019), a flare of this size hasn’t been seen since September 2017’s X8.2. One of the largest in recent memory was an X45 flare in 2003.

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