Biggest Solar Flares in 4 Years Heading Toward Earth

Frame from an animated GIF showing the solar flare in question. [Photo: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory]
That big massive ball of burning hydrogen in the center of our solar system has been getting more and more active as of late--the sun recently had three solar flares explode from the corona, its high temperature plasma atmosphere. Particularly powerful solar flares produce coronal mass ejections, which can reach temperatures of millions of degrees Fahrenheit at the time of explosion and can eventually reach Earth.

We’re lucky to live on this planet: This round, sweet Earth has a magnetic field that protects us terrestrial inhabitants from a good deal of space weather, including high radiation-charged particles emitted from the Sun during these coronal mass ejections (CMEs). That said, these latest three solar flares were the largest in the last four years, and should put on a spectacular light show when they reach us tonight and on Friday. These flares also mark the ramping up of a new solar cycle, which means we should be seeing more and more solar flares in the next few years.

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