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Nasa announces first X class solar flares of the year

14 May 2013 - 13:49 By Times LIVE
The sun erupted with an X1.7-class solar flare. This is a blend of two images of the flare from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory: One image shows light in the 171-angstrom wavelength, the other in 131 angstroms.
The sun erupted with an X1.7-class solar flare. This is a blend of two images of the flare from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory: One image shows light in the 171-angstrom wavelength, the other in 131 angstroms.
Image: NASA/SDO/AIA

This week saw the sun fire off its first X class solar flares of the year according to Nasa.

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation, and while they can't harm humans they can sometimes penetrate the atmosphere enough to mess with GPS systems. X class flares are the most powerful ones.

The first flare was an X1.7 and hit on Sunday, and was followed by an X2.8 flare on Monday. Both flares were associated with coronal mass ejections, launching billions of tons of solar particles into space. While neither were earth directed, they could pass NASA's STEREO-B, Messenger and Spitzer spacecraft.

"Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment because the sun's normal 11-year activity cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum, which is expected in 2013." Nasa said.

Read the full report on Nasa.gov

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