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The Sun is producing its biggest flare in nearly two decades, but Earth is supposed to be safe

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — The sun produced its largest flare in nearly two decades on Tuesday, just days after intense solar storms battered Earth and created dazzling northern lights in places not accustomed to such a display.

“It’s not over yet!” The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced.

It’s the largest flare of this 11-year solar cycle, which is nearing its peak, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The good news is that Earth should be out of the line of fire this time because the flame exploded in a part of the sun away from Earth.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the bright flash of an X-ray flare, the strongest since 2005, and rated X8.7 on the flare scale.

It could get stronger as scientists collect data from other sources, said Brian Brasher of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.

The phenomenon comes about a week after flares and massive coronal plasma ejections threatened to disrupt power supplies and communications on Earth and in orbit. Brasher noted that an ejecta associated with Tuesday’s flare appears to be heading away from our planet, although analysis is still ongoing.

NASA said that the geomagnetic storm that occurred over the weekend caused one of its environmental satellites to rotate unexpectedly due to the decrease in altitude caused by space weather, and to enter a protective sleep state known as safe mode. In addition, on the International Space Station, the seven astronauts were advised to stay in areas with heavy radiation shielding. The crew was never in danger, according to NASA.

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The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Education Media Group. AP is solely responsible for all content.


This story was translated from English by an AP editor with the help of a generative AI tool.