Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Sun Shoots 10th Major Flare

The biggest yet solar flare in an already recordbreaking sequence
erupted today. Possibly in excess of a Category X20. We are now
in unprecedented territory. And you ain't seen nothing yet.
Fintan Dunne

Don't miss Wednesday Nov 5th "Mysteries of the Mind" show.
Prof. Jim McCanney is guesting for the full show at 9pm EST

BBC: What is happening to the Sun?
By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

The Sun's intense activity in the past week will go into the record books. Scientists say they have been amazed by the ferocity of the gigantic flares exploding on the solar surface.

The past 24 hours have seen three major events erupt over our star, hurling billions of tonnes of superhot gas into space - some of it directed at Earth.

Sun Shoots 10th Major Flare Tuesday, Possibly Strongest Yet
By Robert Roy Britt

The 10th major flare in two weeks leapt from the Sun Tuesday, adding one more colossal eruption to a list that has already made history. This one could be the strongest yet.

Scientists are still evaluating the power of the latest outburst, which occurred at about 2:40 p.m. ET. It has tentatively been ranked at least an X11 on a scale in which X denotes severe and the number rates just how severe.

Paal Brekke, deputy project scientist for the SOHO spacecraft, told SPACE.com the flare could be as strong as X20 "or much higher," which would make it the most severe in decades.

"This one saturated the X-ray detectors on the NOAA's GOES satellites that monitor the Sun," Brekke said. "The jury is therefore out on the definitive classification of the flare."

Other scientists have indicated the flare may indeed be an X20 or stronger. Only one X20 event has been seen in recent years, and it was not Earth-directed and had little effect.

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