It’s been a busy week for earth’s star, with a partial solar eclipse delighting space watchers Thursday, and three earlier solar flares captured on NASA’s cameras.
The NOAA’s space weather tracking detected the X3.1 class flare Friday, beginning just after two in the afternoon, Pacific time, and lasting till after 3 p.m.
Flares of this strength can disrupt radios and navigational equipment, but harmful radiation is absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere.
One legendary solar flare in 1989 actually shut down power grids in the U.S. and Canada. That was an “X15″ class flare, exponentially more powerful than this week’s flares.
An X1.6 class flare erupted on Tuesday. X is the strongest class, and an X2 is twice as strong as an X1.
An M-class or mid-level solar flare peaked at 6:59 p.m. Tuesday night, as measured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
A third flare, an X1.1 on October 19th also sent radiation toward earth.
These solar eruptions can trigger larger than usual northern lights also known as the Aurora Borealis, sometimes making the glow visible as far south as Northern California.
NOAA Space Weather Scale descriptions can be found at
Source : CBS Local