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Solar flare

An X-class solar flare led to a radio blackout in parts of the US, Pacific Ocean. According to media reports, Solar flare...

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Recently, an X-class solar flare led to a radio blackout in parts of the US, Pacific Ocean.


  • According to media reports, the Sun emitted an X-class solar flare on July 2, 2023, disrupting radio communications over parts of the United States and the Pacific Ocean.
  • The flare, classified as an X1.0 flare, peaked at 7:14 pm ET, confirmed US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength.

About Solar flares:-

  • Solar flares are a sudden explosion of energy caused by tangling, crossing or reorganizing of magnetic field lines near sunspots.
    • Sunspots: areas that appears dark on the surface of the Sun.
    • They appear dark because they are cooler than other parts of the Sun’s surface.
  • The most powerful solar flares have the energy equivalent of a billion hydrogen bombs, enough energy to power the whole world for 20,000 years.
  • Time period: Solar flares can last from minutes to hours.
    • Sometimes the same active region on the Sun can give rise to several flares in succession, erupting over the course of days or even weeks.

Classes of solar flares:-

  • Solar flares can be divided into various categories based on their brightness in X-ray wavelengths.
  • There are five different classes of solar flares: A, B, C, M, and X.
    • Each class is at least ten times more potent than the one before it.
  • A-class flares: the smallest ones are near background levels.
  • C-class flares: slight and have little effect on the Earth.
  • B-class flares: smallest after the A-class flare.
  • M-class flares: they are medium-sized and typically result in brief radio blackouts that affect the Earth’s Polar Regions.
    • Sometimes an M-class flare is followed by small radiation storms.
  • X-class flares: large, significant events that have the power to cause global radio blackouts and persistent radiation storms in the upper atmosphere.

Effects of solar flares on Earth:-

  • They can affect radio communications, power grids and navigation signals and endanger astronauts and spacecraft. 
  • They can heat a substance to several millions of degrees in a matter of minutes, producing a burst of radiation that spans the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays and gamma rays.
  • Auroras: When charged particles reach areas near Earth, they can trigger intense lights in the sky, called auroras.
  • Electricity shortages and power outages: When particularly strong, a CME can also interfere in power utility grids, causing electricity shortages and power outages.

Frequently Asked Questions About Solar flare

What is a solar flare?

A solar flare is a sudden and powerful explosion of energy that occurs on the Sun’s surface. It is caused by the reorganization or crossing of magnetic field lines near sunspots. Solar flares release a significant amount of energy, including electromagnetic radiation across various wavelengths.

What are sunspots?

Sunspots are areas on the Sun’s surface that appear dark and cooler compared to the surrounding regions. They are caused by intense magnetic activity and are often associated with solar flares. Sunspots can vary in size and can be observed using telescopes equipped with appropriate filters.

How long do solar flares last?

Solar flares can last from a few minutes to several hours, depending on their intensity and complexity. Sometimes, active regions on the Sun can produce multiple flares over the course of days or weeks.

What are the different classes of solar flares?

Solar flares are categorized into different classes based on their brightness in X-ray wavelengths. The classes are A, B, C, M, and X. Each class is at least ten times more potent than the previous one. A-class flares are the smallest, while X-class flares are the most powerful and can cause significant disruptions on Earth, such as radio blackouts and radiation storms.

Read also:- India’s First Solar Mission

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