The sun is a violent place. Intense heat is flying off the surface in every direction and spreading out through space, warming our solar system. Nuclear reactions taking place deep within the core create energy of unimaginable proportions. And amidst all that, solar flares are blazing to life in a magnificent display. The term solar flares comes up a lot when discussing disruptions in electronics, but what exactly are they and what do they do?
1. Solar flares and magnetic lines go hand in hand.
The Sun’s magnetic field lines don’t always play nice. They can get tangled up and generate magnetic energy which is released suddenly and violently. These explosions of energy are solar flares.
2. Radiation is shot out from solar flares.
When solar flares occur, they release radiation, and lots of it. This radiation includes gamma rays, x-rays, radio waves, and even visible light rays. This intense amount of energy released all at once is equal to that of millions of hydrogen bombs - 100 megaton hydrogen bombs.
3. Flares follow a cyclical pattern of activity.
The Sun goes through cycles of activity that last about eleven years. It goes from low activity with minimal solar flares, to high activity with many solar flares. These solar flares can affect radio communications on Earth. Go check out a solar cycle calendar to find out where we are in the current cycle and see an estimate on how many flares are expected in the coming weeks.