NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory Guide to Solar Flares

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory Guide to Solar FlaresAre you trying to get a handle on how big a X-Class flare is really? You can get up to speed in less than three and a half minutes with the NASA SDO Guide to Solar Flares on You Tube. The Guide presents classes B, C, M and X, each class 10X more powerful than the previous one. There is also a 1-9 rating scale within each class. The only classes considered a danger, are the M and X-Classes. M-Class are only a threat to astronauts in space, or possibly, cause a blackout at the poles, says the Guide. The X6.9 flare on Tuesday as reported below may seem strong, but consider a November 4, 2003 flare during the last Solar Max rated X45 for perspective. The Guide informs a solar flare results, when electromagnetic fields reconnect on the Sun’s surface (pictured). “The solar cycle takes an average of about 12 year cycle to go from one solar maximum to the next with an observed variation in duration of 9 to 14 years for any given solar cycle,” according to Wikipedia. A single question lingers, why didn’t we hear more about the X45 in 2003? Why the obsession this time around?

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