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An exceptional solar phenomenon surprises astronomers

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Monday January 22 at 10 p.m., the Sun simultaneously projected two colossal solar flares. Rather rarely, these were emitted from its opposite hemispheres. This event reflects increased solar activity and was captured live by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. The phenomenon was so powerful that it caused several temporary interruptions of communications at different locations on Earth, a consequence of the significant amount of electromagnetic radiation emission that took place.

Amazing synchronization

In certain cases, the flares emitted by our star come from sunspots, areas of the Sun characterized by a lower temperature than their environment. This time, it was the spots AR3559 and AR3561 located approximately 500,000 km from each other which were at the origin of this eruption.

Its magnitude was M5.1, which is half the power of a category X solar flare, which brings together the most powerful eruptions. The electromagnetic energy released during this caused a communications blackout in Indonesia and Australia which lasted 30 minutes.

This fairly rare phenomenon is called sympathetic solar flare and it takes place when two eruptions occur almost simultaneously in different regions of the Sun. Even if they are far away, they are connected to each other by the extended magnetic field of the star. This connection then makes possible the almost simultaneous occurrence of such eruptions.

An indicator of upcoming solar activity

This manifestation is indicative of the activity of the Sun, which follows cycles spanning 11 years. Currently, we are approaching peak solar cycle 25 (expected for 2025) a period when the Sun's magnetic activity reaches its highest threshold.

The four cycles preceding this one were marked by relatively calm activity: few flares and sunspots, fewer coronal mass ejections (CME), stable solar radiation and more discreet effects on Earth.

Experts estimate that the next cycle will be significantly more violent, and could cause very intense solar flares; the NASA forecast panel goes in this direction. NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) forecasters expect minor geomagnetic storms in late January.

The next few years could hold some surprises for us, and possibly remind us of the solar eruption of March 13, 1989, which brought the electricity network to its knees of Quebec. The difference is that today we are even more dependent on electrical energy.

  • On January 22, a rather rare solar flare took place, known as sympathetic solar flare.
  • This phenomenon is actually a double solar flare, emanating from two areas located completely opposite each other.
  • < li>The event could be, according to experts from NASA and NOAA, a witness to rather intense solar activity in the future.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116