Sun at 171 Angstrom. Image credit: NASA/SDO.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, has provided scientists new information about solar flares indicating an increase in strength and longevity that is more than previously thought.
Solar flares are intense bursts of radiation from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. They are the solar system's largest explosive events and are seen as bright areas on the sun. Their energy can reach Earth's atmosphere and affect operations of Earth-orbiting communication and navigation satellites.
Using SDO's Extreme ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) instrument, scientists have observed that radiation from solar flares continue for up to five hours beyond the main phase. The new data also show the total energy from this extended phase of the solar flare's peak sometimes has more energy than the initial event. (read more)