Published On: Tue, Sep 12th, 2017

RADIATION WARNING: The sun is releasing the ‘most intense’ solar flares ever | Science | News

Solar storms blast radiation in all directions from the sun, some of which hits the outer atmosphere of Earth, causing it to heat up and expand.

This means satellite signals would struggle to penetrate the swollen atmosphere, leading to a lack of internet service, GPS navigation, satellite TV such as Sky and mobile phone signal.

Nasa said one of the solar flares was the most intense that there has been in 12 years. The space agency added all of them fall into the strongest category.

The space agency said: “This flare is classified as an X8.2-class flare. X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc. 

“The X9.3 flare was the largest flare so far in the current solar cycle, the approximately 11-year-cycle during which the sun’s activity waxes and wanes.”

The latest batch of solar flares follows during a period when the sun is entering a new cycle.

The sun follows cycles of roughly 11 years where it reaches a solar maximum and then a solar minimum – which our star is heading towards.

During the former, the sun gives off more heat, and less in the latter.

Nasa added in a statement: “The current solar cycle began in December 2008, and is now decreasing in intensity and heading toward solar minimum. 

“This is a phase when such eruptions on the sun are increasingly rare, but history has shown that they can nonetheless be intense.”

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