(ORDO NEWS) — The last few weeks have been a very busy time for the Sun. Our star has experienced a series of gigantic eruptions that sent plasma flying through space.
Perhaps most dramatic was the powerful coronal mass ejection and solar flare that erupted from the far side of the Sun on February 15 just before midnight. Judging by its size, the eruption is possibly in the most powerful category our Sun is capable of : an X-class flare.
Since the flare and ejecta were directed away from the Earth, we are unlikely to see any effects associated with the geomagnetic storm that occurs when the eruption material crashes into the Earth’s atmosphere.
These include communication outages, fluctuations in the power grid and auroras. But the escalation in activity suggests we may expect such storms in the near future.
According to solar trackers , the Sun flared every day during February, with multiple flares observed on some days.
This includes three flares in the second most powerful category, M-class flares: M1.4 on February 12; M1 February 14; and M1.3 on 15 February. There were also five M-class flares in January.
A weak geomagnetic storm that knocked 40 recently launched Starlink satellites out of low Earth orbit followed an M-class flare that occurred on January 29.
Solar maximum should occur around July 2025. It can be hard to predict how active any particular cycle will be because we don’t know what drives it (recent research suggests it’s tied to the 11.07-year planetary cycle), but in 2020, scientists found evidence that that we may be entering the strongest cycle recorded to date.
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