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October 31, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
The sun has erupted more than two dozen times over the last week, sending radiation and solar material hurtling through space - and scientists say more eruptions may be coming. This shouldn't be unusual. After all, we are technically at solar maximum, the peak of the 11-year cycle of the sun's activity. But this has been a noticeably mellow solar maximum, with the sun staying fairly quiet throughout the summer. So when our life-giving star suddenly let loose with 24 medium strength M-class solar flares and four significantly stronger X-class flares between Oct.  23 and Oct. 30, it felt like a surprise.
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SCIENCE
April 7, 2014 | By Amina Khan
A solar flare flashed on the turbulent surface of the sun last week - and NASA captured the moment in a video. The agency's Solar Dynamics Observatory watched as balletic lines of light swirled and grew to produce the M-class flare. Solar flares get letter grades to categorize their strength. The weakest ones are A-class; then come B, C, M and finally X class. Each letter class is 10 times stronger than the one before it. Numbers attached to each letter put a finer point on each flare's power.
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SCIENCE
October 25, 2013 | By Amy Hubbard
The sun shot out a pair of gigantic solar flares early Friday -- the second one even bigger than the first, a NOAA expert tells the Los Angeles Times. An X1-class solar flare occurred at about 1 a.m. PDT, followed by an even larger one about eight hours later. "This one was an X2, twice as intense as the X1 that just occurred," said Bill Murtagh, program coordinator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in an interview Friday morning. PHOTOS: Stunning views of the sun News of the latest activity came as NASA released a spectacular video and image, see above, of a solar eruption in September, what the space agency termed a "canyon of fire.
SCIENCE
March 31, 2014 | By Amy Hubbard, This post has been updated. See below for details.
An immense solar flare burst from the sun Saturday, and as of Monday there were "several coronal mass ejections in play," according to NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center. A coronal mass ejection is a huge release --billions of tons -- of solar material and magnetic fields that, if it reaches Earth, can create beautiful auroras as well as cause problems with the power grid. [Updated 4 p.m. March 30: Heliophysicist Alex Young told the Los Angeles Times this flare was unique in that it was "impulsive" -- providing a strong, quick burst of radiation.
NEWS
October 20, 1989 | Associated Press
A major solar flare on the sun Thursday hurled a surge of radiation toward the Earth that may disrupt communications and electrical power transmission over the next two days, government scientists said. Norman Cohen, a geophysical forecaster at the Space Environment Services Center run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo., said he was sending alerts to electrical utilities in Canada and in the northern United States to expect possible power surges.
NEWS
March 31, 2001 | From Times Wire Reports
Four solar flares and a pair of powerful magnetic gas clouds spawned in a monster sunspot were headed for Earth and could affect power systems, satellites and some radio transmissions this weekend, a top space weather forecaster said. They might also provide a dazzling display of the northern lights if they arrive at night, said Gary Heckman, senior forecaster for the U.S. Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo.
SCIENCE
October 28, 2006 | From Times Wire Reports
Twin spacecraft blasted off on a mission to study huge eruptions from the sun that can damage satellites, disrupt electrical and communications systems on Earth, and endanger spacewalking astronauts. The two NASA spacecraft, known as STEREO, for Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, lifted off Wednesday from Cape Canaveral in Florida, aboard a Delta II rocket.
NEWS
April 3, 2001 | From Times wire services
Forecasters said a solar flare was the most intense they have seen in the current 11-year solar cycle. Space weather forecasters in Boulder estimated its intensity at X-22 on a scale that goes only to 20 after sensors on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite could no longer measure it. Forecasters said the estimate could be off by plus or minus 2. The flare caused static on a radio frequency used to navigate boats and planes, causing flight delays.
NEWS
March 13, 1989
More large solar flares, each with the potential to disrupt radio transmissions and trigger aurora borealis, have erupted on the sun in the wake of an unusually large blast, researchers at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico said. A blast 36 times the size of Earth that occurred last Thursday on the sun's northeast quadrant was possibly the largest ever recorded, researchers said. Staff Sgt.
SCIENCE
August 20, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Sunspots, those dark regions on the surface of the sun whose high magnetic activity has ripple effects for Earthlings, seem to emerge and fade without warning. But now, by listening to the sounds the sun makes, scientists have managed to predict when a sunspot will appear up to two days beforehand. The findings, published in Friday's edition of the journal Science, could help solar physicists understand how to better predict solar flares and other space weather events that can harm astronauts and damage power and electronics systems on Earth.
NATIONAL
February 1, 2014 | By Evan Halper
FREDERICK, Md. - Roscoe Bartlett was rattling off the prices of giant bags of rice, wheat and corn, sold cheaply at Sam's Club. The former congressman from rural, western Maryland expressed bewilderment that every American doesn't stockpile such things, considering what he is sure is coming. "Storing enough calories isn't really a challenge," said the rugged 87-year-old Republican, who served 10 terms on Capitol Hill. "The real challenge is vitamins and stuff. " Bartlett is preparing for an epic power outage.
SCIENCE
October 31, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
The sun has erupted more than two dozen times over the last week, sending radiation and solar material hurtling through space - and scientists say more eruptions may be coming. This shouldn't be unusual. After all, we are technically at solar maximum, the peak of the 11-year cycle of the sun's activity. But this has been a noticeably mellow solar maximum, with the sun staying fairly quiet throughout the summer. So when our life-giving star suddenly let loose with 24 medium strength M-class solar flares and four significantly stronger X-class flares between Oct.  23 and Oct. 30, it felt like a surprise.
SCIENCE
October 25, 2013 | By Amy Hubbard
The sun shot out a pair of gigantic solar flares early Friday -- the second one even bigger than the first, a NOAA expert tells the Los Angeles Times. An X1-class solar flare occurred at about 1 a.m. PDT, followed by an even larger one about eight hours later. "This one was an X2, twice as intense as the X1 that just occurred," said Bill Murtagh, program coordinator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in an interview Friday morning. PHOTOS: Stunning views of the sun News of the latest activity came as NASA released a spectacular video and image, see above, of a solar eruption in September, what the space agency termed a "canyon of fire.
SCIENCE
August 7, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
The sun's enormous magnetic field is about to flip, and the effects of this massive realignment will be felt throughout the solar system, including here on Earth. But don't expect anything too crazy to happen. Chances are you've experienced a major solar magnetic flip already, probably without even realizing it. The sun flips its magnetic field once every 11 years, at the same time it reaches solar maximum, when sun spots and solar flares are at their height.   The magnetic flip doesn't happen all at once, explained Phil Scherrer, a researcher at Stanford University who studies the sun. "It's a long, slow process, and in fact it has already begun," he told the Los Angeles Times.
SCIENCE
June 22, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
While you were busy celebrating the summer solstice, our sun was erupting with a great flash of light and ejecting billions of tons of solar material out into space. Call it the summer solstice flare of 2013. The relatively mild solar flare occurred at 8:15 p.m. PDT Thursday evening, just a few hours before the moment when the Earth's North Pole was tipped the most toward the sun, signaling the start of summer.  PHOTOS: Stunning views of the Sun The official solstice occurred at 10:04 p.m. PDT. It's almost as if the sun were celebrating the arrival of warm days and long nights with those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.
SCIENCE
May 15, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
There she goes again! The same region of the sun that brought you three powerful solar flares in a 24-hour span from Sunday night to Monday evening let loose Tuesday night with another explosive flash of ultraviolet radiation and sent tons of its own solar material flying through space. The flare, which peaked at 6:48 p.m. EDT, was the fourth this week to be categorized as X-class, the most powerful type of solar flare. As usual, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught beautiful images of the sun's fireworks, which you can see above.
SCIENCE
May 4, 2012 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Time
A stream of highly charged particles from the sun is headed straight toward Earth, threatening to plunge cities around the world into darkness and bring the global economy screeching to a halt. This isn't the premise of the latest doomsday thriller. Massive solar storms have happened before - and another one is likely to occur soon, according to Mike Hapgood, a space weather scientist at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory near Oxford, England. Much of the planet's electronic equipment, as well as orbiting satellites, have been built to withstand these periodic geomagnetic storms.
NEWS
February 11, 1986
Solar flares and weather problems have delayed for two weeks a close-up image of Halley's comet at its closest approach to the sun, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration said. The photographic image produced from an ultraviolet light spectrograph aboard the Pioneer Venus orbiter spacecraft was to be released today at NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View.
SCIENCE
May 14, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
The sun put on another fireworks display Monday evening, releasing a dramatic flash of ultraviolet radiation and sending solar matter hurtling through space. It was the third major solar flare in 24 hours and the most powerful of 2013. The solar flare triple threat started Sunday evening when the left flank of the sun exploded with an X1.7 solar flare -- the first X class solar flare of 2013. That was followed by an X2.8 solar flare Monday morning, and an X3.2 solar flare Monday just after 6 p.m. PDT.  All three solar flares originated from sun spots in an area of the sun known as AR 11748.
SCIENCE
May 13, 2013 | By Deborah Netburn
The sun erupted for the second time in less than 24 hours Monday morning, releasing the most powerful solar flare so far of 2013. Monday's solar flare, which peaked at 9 a.m. Pacific time, came just 14 hours after the second largest solar flare of 2013, which occurred on Sunday evening. A solar flare is a huge explosion in the sun's atmosphere that sends out a burst of radiation. The Earth's atmosphere protects us from that radiation, but some satellites could be affected.
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