NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captures solar flare

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The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) filmed the flare bursting from the northwest hemisphere of the Sun. In the video, a blast of magnetic filament can be seen booming through the atmosphere of the Sun, followed by a few shockwaves stemming from the epicentre.

Researchers classed it as a C2-class solar flare, which means it would not have been powerful enough to cause any problems on Earth.

However, it is a redundant point as the solar flare was facing away from Earth.

Astronomy site Space Weather said: “During the late hours of February 27, departing sunspot AR2804 produced a C2-class solar flare.

“NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) detected a shadowy wave rippling away from the blast site.

“This kind of wave is usually a sure-fire sign of a coronal mass ejection (CME).

“Indeed, just after the flare, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) detected a CME emerging from the Sun’s northwestern limb.

“Because the sunspot was not facing Earth, the CME will miss our planet.”

Often, solar particles released from CMEs can collide with Earth.

For the most part, the Earth’s magnetic field protects humans from the barrage of radiation which comes from sunspots, but solar storms can affect satellite-based technology.

Solar winds can heat the Earth’s outer atmosphere, causing it to expand.

This can affect satellites in orbit, potentially leading to a lack of GPS navigation, mobile phone signal and satellite TV such as Sky.

Additionally, a surge of particles can lead to high currents in the magnetosphere, which can lead to higher than normal electricity in power lines, resulting in electrical transformers and power stations blowouts and a loss of power.

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Rarely does an event such as this happen, with the biggest technology-crippling solar storm coming in 1859, when a surge in electricity during what is now known as the Carrington Event, was so strong that telegraph systems went down across Europe.

There are also reports that some buildings set on fire as a result of the electrical surge.

More often than not, CMEs which hit Earth result in harmless auroras.

Auroras, which include northern lights – aurora borealis – and southern lights – aurora australis – are caused when solar particles hit the atmosphere.

As the planet’s magnetosphere gets bombarded by solar winds, stunning lights of various hues can appear in the northern and southernmost regions.

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