What Causes Solar Flare?
Frankly speaking, physicists are still baffled that what actually causes solar flare!!! The mechanism involved is still not well known. Therefore there is a general agreement on the facts related to The Source Of The Solar Flare’s Energy.
As per the known theory, when charged particles (electrons) interact with the plasma, a solar flare is produced. Solar flares are believed to occur due to a process called magnetic reconnection. In simple terms, when the loop of magnetic force breaks apart and then rejoins; a vast amount of energy (solar flare) is released. Within a matter of minutes, particles are accelerated into Deep Space. The sudden breaking and then rejoining of the loop of magnetic force is the origin of the particle acceleration. Particles accelerated by the intense energy nearly to the speed of light.
How Often Do Solar Flares Occur?
Solar flares generally tend to occur near Sunspots – mostly in the active region. During the occurrence of a solar flare, all the layers of the sun (photosphere, chromosphere, and corona) are affected. Larger solar flares occur much less than the smaller solar flares.
Well, the frequency of occurrence of solar flare solely depends on the activity of the sun. In simple terms, in an 11-year solar cycle, their frequency varies from several flares per day when the sun is particularly active to the fewer than one flare per week when the sun is in a quiet phase.
Classification Of Solar Flares
An earlier method for The Classification Of Solar Flares was based on the intensity as well as the Emitting Surface of Hα line of the Solar Spectrum. But nowadays, the modern classification of solar flares is done according to the peak flux (W/m2) of X-rays from 100 to 800 picometre; as observed by the GOES (Geostationary Operation Environmental Satellite) spacecraft orbiting around the earth.
|On August 1, 2010, the Sun shows a C3-class solar flare (white area on upper left), a solar tsunami (wave-like structure, upper right) and multiple filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface
Credit: Wikimedia Commons
||Peak Flux Range at 100-800 picometre
||10−7 – 10−6
||10−6 – 10−5
||10−5 – 10−4
When Was The First Solar Flare Discovered?
The first-ever recorded solar flare is also the most powerful flare ever recorded till date. Known as The Solar Storm Of 1859 occurred on Sept 1, 1859. It was independently reported by 2 British amateur astronomers Richard C. Carrington and Richard Hodgson.
The solar storm of 1859, also known as the Carrington Event was visible to the naked eyes, produced Auroras all over the world. At that time, physicists and scientists were unable to calculate the magnitude and strength of the solar flare of 1859. But today with modern techniques, scientists reconstructed the Carrington Event based on the Beryllium-10 isotopes produced during the solar storm of 1859.
How Do Solar Flares Effect Earth?
There are a variety of things that happen or effect earth due to solar flare; such as:
- Solar flare produces high energy particles and radiation which are quite dangerous for living organisms.
- Satellites orbiting around the earth could be minorly damaged due to solar flares.
- There could be an increase in visibility and as well as in the brightness of the Auroras; known as Southern or Northern lights.
- High-frequency radio waves could be severely degraded.
- Electrical Power Grids could be damaged severely due to solar flares.
- There will be an increase in the chances of sunburn or even cancer due to ultra-violet rays released during a solar flare.
How To Predict Solar Flares?
Still, nowadays physicists and scientists are unable to predict the upcoming solar flare with high accuracy because the current methods used by the scientist are too problematic. Although high sunspot activity is associated with an increased chance of solar flares production yet, there is no certain accurate indication that an active sunspot will definitely produce a solar flare. However, if a strong solar flare (M or X class) is predicted, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) directly issues a forecast/warning.
ON that note, I can say that I have tried enough to give an overview of Upcoming Events & Everything About Solar Flares – In My View within my reach. If there is any suggestion, I am all ears. Feel free to comment.
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∗ Don’t Believe It As I Said Till You Yourself Believe It First – Gautama Buddha