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Massive solar flare erupts from sun, NASA thinks our star is waking up

Christian Fernsby ▼ | June 2, 2020
NASA has recorded the strongest solar flare from the sun since October 2017.
Solar flare   Sun
The space agency said the flare will pose no danger to our planet but the heightened activity could mean the start of a new solar cycle.

We’re currently in a period known as ‘solar minimum’ when the sun is less active.

During the minimum, there are significantly fewer sunspots and its magnetic field weakens, allowing cosmic rays from outside our solar system to rain down on Earth.

However, with the detection of this flare and increased sunspots by Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), things could be about to change.

Every 11 years or so, the sun’s magnetic field will flip and change the activity of our parent star.

A more active sun could lead to gigantic eruptions from the surface, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that can sometimes reach us on Earth.

The result may be more visible auroras and even some interference with radio communications from satellites.

‘As the Sun moves through its natural 11-year cycle, in which its activity rises and falls, sunspots rise and fall in number, too,’ the space agency wrote on its blog.

‘NASA and NOAA track sunspots in order to determine, and predict, the progress of the solar cycle and ultimately, solar activity.

Currently, scientists are paying close attention to the sunspot number as it’s key to determining the dates of solar minimum, which is the official start of Solar Cycle 25.

‘This new sunspot activity could be a sign that the Sun is possibly revving up to the new cycle and has passed through minimum.