Sunspots and Solar Flares
Apr 08, · Solar flares are a sudden explosion of energy caused by tangling, crossing or reorganizing of magnetic field lines near sunspots. The surface of the Sun is a very busy place. It has electrically charged gases that generate areas of powerful . Mar 06, · A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events. They are seen as bright areas on the sun and they can last from minutes to hours.
Solar Flares. Click on image for larger version. Flare Characteristics Solar flares are tremendous explosions on the surface of the Sun. In a matter of just a few minutes they heat material to many millions of degrees and release as much energy as a billion megatons of TNT.
They occur near sunspots, usually along the dividing line neutral line between areas of oppositely directed magnetic fields. Flares release energy in many forms - electro-magnetic Gamma rays and X-raysenergetic particles protons and electronsand mass flows. Flares are characterized by their brightness in X-rays X-Ray flux.
The biggest flares are X-Class flares. Flare Observations Solar flares are often observed using filters to isolate the light emitted by hydrogen atoms in the red region of the solar spectrum the H-alpha spectral line. Most solar observatories have H-alpha telescopes and some observatories monitor the Sun for solar flares by capturing images of the Sun every few seconds. The images at the left are from the Big Bear Solar Observatory. The image at the upper left shows material erupting from a flare near the limb of the Sun on October 10th, The 4.
The image at the lower left shows a powerful flare observed on the disk of the Sun on August 7th, This is an example of a "two-ribbon" flare in which the flaring region appear as two what to put in pasta lines threading through the area between sunspots within a sunspot group.
See the 2. This particular flare, the "seahorse flare," produced radiation levels that would have been harmful to astronauts if a moon mission had been in progress at the time.
Flares and Magnetic Shear The key to understanding and predicting solar flares is the structure of the magnetic field around sunspots. If what are solar flares on the sun structure becomes twisted and sheared then magnetic field lines can cross and reconnect with the explosive release of energy.
In the image to the left the blue lines represent the neutral lines between areas of oppositely directed magnetic fields. Normally the magnetic field would loop directly across these lines from positive outward pointing magnetic field to negative inward pointing magnetic field regions. The small line segments show the strength and direction of the magnetic field measured with the MSFC Vector Magnetograph.
These lines and line segments overlie an image of a group of sunspots with a flaring region. The flare the bright area lies along a section of a neutral line where the magnetic field is twisted or sheared to point along the neutral line instead of across it.
We have found that this shear is a key ingredient in the production of solar flares. Flare Observations by Arnold O. Solar Probe Plus. Solar Flare Review Articles. Web Links. Government and Space Weather. Author: Dr. David H. Hathaway, dave. David McKenzie david.
What are sunspots and solar flares?
Solar flares are often observed using filters to isolate the light emitted by hydrogen atoms in the red region of the solar spectrum (the H-alpha spectral line). Most solar observatories have H-alpha telescopes and some observatories monitor the Sun for solar flares by capturing images of the Sun every few seconds. Jun 08, · Solar Flares (Radio Blackouts) Solar flares are large eruptions of electromagnetic radiation from the Sun lasting from minutes to hours. The sudden outburst of electromagnetic energy travels at the speed of light, therefore any effect upon the sunlit side of Earth’s exposed outer atmosphere occurs at the same time the event is observed. A flare is defined as a sudden, rapid, and intense variation in brightness. A solar flare occurs when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released.
The surface of the Sun is a very busy place. It has electrically charged gases that generate areas of powerful magnetic forces. These areas are called magnetic fields. This motion creates a lot of activity on the Sun's surface, called solar activity. Other times, things are a bit quieter. The amount of solar activity changes with the stages in the solar cycle.
Solar activity can have effects here on Earth, so scientists closely monitor solar activity every day. Sunspots are areas that appear dark on the surface of the Sun.
The temperature of a sunspot is still very hot though—around 6, degrees Fahrenheit! Why are sunspots relatively cool? These magnetic fields are so strong that they keep some of the heat within the Sun from reaching the surface. In this image, you can see an active region on the sun with dark sunspots.
The magnetic field lines near sunspots often tangle, cross, and reorganize. This can cause a sudden explosion of energy called a solar flare. Solar flares release a lot of radiation into space.
If a solar flare is very intense, the radiation it releases can interfere with our radio communications here on Earth. A loop of solar material, a coronal mass ejection CME , can also be seen rising up off the right limb of the Sun.
Solar flares are sometimes accompanied by a coronal mass ejection CME for short. CMEs are huge bubbles of radiation and particles from the Sun. When charged particles from a CME reach areas near Earth, they can trigger intense lights in the sky, called auroras. When particularly strong, a CME can also interfere in power utility grids, which at their worst can cause electricity shortages and power outages.
Solar flares and CMEs are the most powerful explosions in our solar system. Sunspots and Solar Flares. The Short Answer:. Solar flares are a sudden explosion of energy caused by tangling, crossing or reorganizing of magnetic field lines near sunspots.
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