Sun Unleashes Biggest Solar Flare Of The Year Yet - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Sun Unleashes Biggest Solar Flare Of The Year Yet

Posted: Updated:
Courtesy: MGN Online Courtesy: MGN Online

YAHOO.COM - The most powerful solar flare of the year erupted from the sun today (April 11) sparking a temporary radio blackout on Earth, NASA officials say.

The solar flare occurred at 3:16 a.m. EDT (0716 GMT) and registered as a M6.5-class sun storm, a relatively mid-level flare on the scale of solar tempests. It coincided with an eruption of super-hot solar plasma known as a coronal mass ejection.

"This is the strongest flare seen so far in 2013," NASA spokeswoman Karen Fox explained in a statement. "Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun's normal 11-year cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum, which is expected in late 2013."

NASA's sun-watching Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded a stunning video of the strongest solar flare of 2013, showing it extreme detail. The spacecraft is one of several space-based observatories keeping track of the sun's solar weather events.

NASA officials dubbed today's solar flare as a "spring fling" for the sun, which has been relatively calm as it heads into its peak activity period.

Today's M-class solar flare was about 10 times weaker than X-class flares, which are the strongest flares the sun can unleash. M-class solar flares are the weakest solar events that can still trigger space weather effects near Earth, such as communications interruptions or spectacular northern lights displays.

The solar flare triggered a short-lived radio communications blackout on Earth that registered as an R2 event (on a scale of R1 to R5), according to space weather scales maintained NOAA, Fox added.

When aimed directly at Earth, major solar flares and coronal mass ejections can pose a threat to astronauts and satellites in orbit. They can interfere with GPS navigation and communications satellite signals in space, as well as impair power systems infrastructure on Earth.

Fox said NASA officials are tracking the coronal mass ejection to see if it poses any space weather concerns for Earth. Meanwhile, the Solar Dynamics Observatory and other space observatories will continue to monitor the sun's activity.

"Humans have tracked this solar cycle continuously since it was discovered, and it is normal for there to be many flares a day during the sun's peak activity," Fox explained.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Prosecutor: No criminal liability in officer involved shooting

    Prosecutor: No criminal liability in officer involved shooting

    Friday, August 1 2014 1:02 PM EDT2014-08-01 17:02:00 GMT
    UPDATE:The Spokane County Prosecutors Office has reviewed the case of the Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) incident on February 11, 2014 involving Spokane County deputies and Jed Zillmer. The incident occurred in the intersection of Indiana and Sullivan in Spokane Valley.
    >>
    UPDATE:The Spokane County Prosecutors Office has reviewed the case of the Officer Involved Shooting (OIS) incident on February 11, 2014 involving Spokane County deputies and Jed Zillmer. The incident occurred in the intersection of Indiana and Sullivan in Spokane Valley.
    >>
  • Otter attacks swimmers in Washington river

    Otter attacks swimmers in Washington river

    Friday, August 1 2014 11:53 AM EDT2014-08-01 15:53:58 GMT
    MACHIAS, Wash. (AP) - A river otter attacked an 8-year-old boy and his grandmother as they were swimming in the Pilchuck River at a park in the Snohomish County town of Machias. The boy's mother, Tabitha Moser, told KING that she saw the 4-foot otter attack her son Thursday morning at Lake Connor Park. She says her mother saved him.>>
    MACHIAS, Wash. (AP) - A river otter attacked an 8-year-old boy and his grandmother as they were swimming in the Pilchuck River at a park in the Snohomish County town of Machias. The boy's mother, Tabitha Moser, told KING that she saw the 4-foot otter attack her son Thursday morning at Lake Connor Park. She says her mother saved him.
    >>
  • FIRST ON KHQ.COM: hikers find body in Spokane Valley; homicide investigation begins

    FIRST ON KHQ.COM: hikers find body in Spokane Valley; homicide investigation begins

    Friday, August 1 2014 1:50 PM EDT2014-08-01 17:50:42 GMT
    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.- On Thursday night major crimes detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office began investigating the discovery of a body in Spokane Valley.The body was found earlier in the evening by a couple walking in a wooded area near Parkside At Mirabeau Apartments.>>
    SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash.- On Thursday night major crimes detectives with the Spokane County Sheriff's Office began investigating the discovery of a body in Spokane Valley.The body was found earlier in the evening by a couple walking in a wooded area near Parkside At Mirabeau Apartments.>>
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war

    Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:36 AM EDT2014-07-27 14:36:04 GMT
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas says it has agreed to a 24-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza war ahead of a major Muslim holiday. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the truce would go into effect at 2 p.m. Sunday. The three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, is expected to begin Monday or Tuesday, depending on the sighting of the new moon.>>
    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas says it has agreed to a 24-hour humanitarian truce in the Gaza war ahead of a major Muslim holiday. Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the truce would go into effect at 2 p.m. Sunday. The three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, is expected to begin Monday or Tuesday, depending on the sighting of the new moon.>>
  • Dutch: 1st victim identified from Flight 17

    Dutch: 1st victim identified from Flight 17

    Saturday, July 26 2014 5:55 PM EDT2014-07-26 21:55:02 GMT
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch government says the first victim has been identified from the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster.The name and sex of the victim, a Dutch national, weren't released. The government said Saturday the next of kin and mayor of the victim's hometown have been informed.>>
    THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) - The Dutch government says the first victim has been identified from the Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 disaster.The name and sex of the victim, a Dutch national, weren't released. The government said Saturday the next of kin and mayor of the victim's hometown have been informed.>>
  • 3 rockets hit Israel as Hamas rejects Gaza truce

    3 rockets hit Israel as Hamas rejects Gaza truce

    Saturday, July 26 2014 5:19 PM EDT2014-07-26 21:19:11 GMT
    JERUSALEM (AP) - The Israeli military says three rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel despite a proposed extension of a humanitarian truce in the Gaza war.Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group rejected Israel's proposal to extend an original 12-hour lull by four hours, until midnight Saturday.>>
    JERUSALEM (AP) - The Israeli military says three rockets have been fired from Gaza at Israel despite a proposed extension of a humanitarian truce in the Gaza war.Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the group rejected Israel's proposal to extend an original 12-hour lull by four hours, until midnight Saturday.>>