March 7 Solar Flare Emitted Highest Energy Light Ever Detected

The Sun is approaching Solar Maximum, expected to occur in 2013. Was March 7th X5.4 solar flare an indication of things to come? “During a powerful solar blast in March, NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope detected the highest-energy light ever associated with an eruption on the sun,” states the video summary. “The powerful March 7 flare… is the strongest eruption so far observed by Fermi’s LAT [Large Area Telescope]. The flare produced such an outpouring of gamma rays – a form of light with even greater energy than X-rays… At the flare’s peak, the LAT detected gamma rays with two billion times the energy of visible light, or about 4 billion electron volts (GeV), easily setting a record for the highest-energy light ever detected during or just after a solar flare. The flux of high-energy gamma rays, defined as those with energies beyond 100 million electron volts (MeV), was 1,000 times greater than the sun’s steady output… The March 7 flare also is notable for the persistence of its gamma-ray emission. Fermi’s LAT detected high-energy gamma rays for about 20 hours, two and a half times longer than any event on record… Solar eruptions are now on the rise as the sun progresses toward the peak of its roughly 11-year-long activity cycle, now expected in mid-2013.” Is this just the beginning of an unimaginable increase in solar activity?

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