The sun is a tempestuous mistress – and her outbursts are becoming more and more violent as the weeks go on.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spotted the summer’s first ‘X’ solar flare on Friday – a huge outburst from the sun right at the top of the scale.
This came on the back of 12 ‘M’ flares in just six days, with a M6.1 flare knocking out radio signals across the planet on Thursday – hinting at the destruction the sun could reign on our technology if Earth takes a full blast across its blow.
The sunspot group behind the flares – named as AR1515 – stretches across 118,681 miles (191,000km) of the sun’s surface.
This makes it’s width more than 15 Earths set end to end, said NASA solar astrophysicist C. Alex Young.
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The biggest flares are known as ‘X-class flares’ based on a classification system that divides solar flares according to their strength.
The smallest ones are A-class, which are similar to normal background levels, followed by B, C, M and X.