Largest solar flare in years narrowly misses Earth – but more eruptions are on their way
Largest solar flare in years narrowly misses Earth – but more eruptions are on their way

Largest solar flare in years narrowly misses Earth – but more eruptions are on their way

OK, first the good news – the largest solar flare for three years narrowly missed hitting the Earth last Sunday. Woo hoo!

Now the bad news: the sunspot that caused the flare is actually coming round to face Earth and could be much more damaging.

Solar flares send out large amounts of electromagnetic radiation. And that burst of energy can damage satellites and cause power cuts.

They’re released from sunspots, the dark patches on the sun which are solar explosions.

The blast on Sunday was a medium-sized one and caused radio blackouts in the South Atlantic.

But the sunspot is now turned towards Earth, and astronomers are watching out for larger solar flares.

“There is a risk,” said Dr Ilias Fernini, deputy general director for research laboratories and observatory at the ‏‎Sharjah Academy for Astronomy, Space Science and Technology‎‏.

“This one wasn’t directed at Earth, but in the next couple of hours that same sunspot will be facing Earth and we have to keep observing it. It could also erupt later on and we have to hope that doesn’t happen.”

A large solar flare in 1989 caused a geomagnetic storm and took out power in Quebec, Canada for days.

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