The Sun emitted a strong solar flare that reached its peak at 4:46 p.m. EDT on August 7, 2023. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, a vigilant monitor of the Sun’s activities, captured an image of the occurrence.
Effects of Solar Flares
Solar flares are potent bursts of energy. These flares, along with solar eruptions, can have various effects on Earth. They can disrupt high-frequency (HF) radio communications, affect electric power grids, interfere with navigation signals, and even pose risks to spacecraft and astronauts.
Classification of the Flare
The flare in question is classified as an X1.5 flare. An X1.5 flare is a substantial solar flare on the scale used to categorize such phenomena. The classification system for solar flares includes three main categories: C, M, and X, with X-class flares being the most intense.
The number following the class letter gives further details about its strength on a continuous scale. In this case, an X1.5 flare is a strong event but falls in the lower range of the X-class category. The scale starts at X1, and the numbers increase with the flare’s intensity, with some flares even exceeding X20.
An X1.5 flare can emit energy equivalent to billions of hydrogen bombs and have significant effects, such as causing radio blackouts on the sunlit side of the Earth and possibly affecting satellite operations, power grids, and other technological systems.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) is a space-based observatory that continuously observes the Sun. Launched by NASA, it is tasked with monitoring and studying the Sun’s magnetic field, solar activity, and solar flares. The data collected by SDO helps scientists understand the Sun’s influence on Earth and near-Earth space, providing insights into phenomena like solar flares that can affect space weather and impact various technologies on Earth.