Pick of The Week
 
 

One More Flare, Supersized (November 6, 2003)

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  • The Sun unleashed a powerful flare on 4 November 2003 that could be the most powerful ever witnessed and probably as strong as anything detected since satellites were able to record these events n the mid-1970s. The still and video clip from the Extreme ultraviolet Imager on SOHO captured the event.

    The two strongest flares on record, in 1989 and 2001, were rated at X20. This one was stronger scientists say. But because it saturated the X-ray detector aboard NOAA's GOES satellite that monitors the Sun, it is not possible to tell yet just how large it was. A number of scientists are estimating that the rating may put it somewhere around X28 or X30.

    The flare erupted from the visible disk of the Sun, just over the edge of the visible hemisphere. While the soft X-ray and extreme ultraviolet emission from the flare caused a shortwave radio blackout just minutes later, the associated coronal mass ejection (CME) is unlikely to deal the earth's magnetosphere more than a glancing blow, no earlier than November 6.

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