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Stunning Images of Solar Flares

May 15, 2009
Solar flares are like the Sun’s equivalents of Earth’s natural hazards, though of course they occur on a much larger scale. It would be nice to say such phenomena have minimal impact on the environment or life on Earth, but solar flares do strongly influence our local space weather, and produce streams of highly energetic particles in solar wind that can pose radiation risks to astronauts. Who knows what a biggie could do? While we wait for the answer, trying not to put the words “mass” and extinction” together, don your protective glasses and prepare for some dazzling images of solar eruptions – like the limb flare above.
clipped from

solar flare close: from the sun

Solar flares are giant explosions in the Sun’s atmosphere that release incredible amounts of energy. Putting our puny attempts at generating power firmly in their place, solar flares heat plasma to tens of millions of degrees Kelvin and accelerate particles to almost the speed of light, while emitting radiation across all wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum – from radio waves to gamma rays.

largest recorded solar flare 2003

sun solar flare: unfurling

Sun Storm

solar flare blue sun: STEREO's First View of the Sun

Monster Flare
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