Sun Launches Three More Flares

Published: 4 Nov , 2003

Image credit: NOAA

It looks like the Sun isn’t done with us yet. Over the last 24-hours, the Sun has hurled three more giant flares towards the Earth. None of these were as large as the flares that struck the Earth last week, but they’re still fairly strong. This should give people in the Northern and Southern latitudes another chance to see an aurora. The sunspots which have been generating all the storms are now rotating over to the side of the Sun and then they’ll go behind it, but they could return again in a few weeks to batter the Earth again.

The series of solar storms that have pummeled Earth continues as forecasters at the NOAA Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo., observed three more explosions on the sun during the past 24 hours. The largest flare produced a coronal mass ejection, CME, that could strike Earth’s magnetic field by midday Monday. Forecasters are predicting a strong to severe (G-3 to G-4) storm for Monday and Tuesday, as measured by the NOAA space weather scales that run 1 to 5. This storming will provide another chance for those in the northern tier of the U.S. to see the northern lights or Aurora Borealis. (Click NOAA satellite image for larger view of sun taken on Nov. 3, 2003, at 11:34 a.m. EST. Click here to view latest solar images. Please credit ?NOAA.?)

Strong solar radiation and radio blackout storms were in progress on Sunday as a result of the large eruptions. NOAA sun spot regions 486 and 488, which produced these flares, are gradually moving to the western part of the sun and should be rotating out of sight in the next day or so. This might provide Earth with a break from the severe space storms it has experienced over the last 10 days. However, these regions could return to the front side of the sun in several weeks as they rotate back into view. In the 11-year solar cycle, The Earth is currently about three years past solar maximum. Solar maximum is the time when the sun is most active. Right now the sun is in its solar minimum phase.

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Original Source: NOAA News Release

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