Sun has biggest solar flare of the year
The bright spot near the center of the photo is a solar flare that NASA observed on Sunday.
February 15th, 2011
12:14 PM ET

Sun has biggest solar flare of the year

If you live at a high northern or southern latitude, watch for some spectacular lights in the sky Tuesday night.

The sun unleashed its strongest solar flare of the year Sunday, and the cloud of radiation it spewed will hit Earth's magnetic field Tuesday, NASA said.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded a brief but intense flash signaling the ejection of a cloud of ultraviolet radiation.

The source of the flare, sunspot 1158, is growing rapidly, the observatory reported.

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Filed under: Science • Space
soundoff (291 Responses)
  1. eve

    Volcano / Earthquake Watch Feb 17-20

    February 15, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill


    February 15, 2011 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richp, Easton, Pa

      Is that the east coast or the west coast one, if get them mixed up..

      February 15, 2011 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Humphry

    Maybe the sun is lost and sending out a flare for help.

    February 15, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Holly

      LOL (let us hope not)

      February 15, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • kake79


      February 15, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Chuck

    No I find this to be pretty alarming. If it keeps happening .. if the Sun keeps pushing our magnetosphere and bending down to the deck, we have less shields, crops die, weather changes, etc. So we need to watch this .. its serious. There is also some glimmer of science that our magnetosphere is weakening for some weird reason. The sun is really really big.. and we are really really tiny.

    February 15, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      If you're worried about THIS, you'd be shocked to know that THIS is a minor storm and bigger ones have hit MANY, MANY times.
      It'll NOT EVER hit the atmosphere. Period. It won't hurt crops. It won't make the air stinky.
      A SEVERE storm COULD pop the power systems in Canada and the northern US.
      The magnetic field of the Earth IS fading. It never REACHES zero, but eventually will reverse. Figure a few hundred thousand years, then you'll need a new compass. During minimal strength, the magnetosphere will remain intact, as it is a planetary average field, not the surface magnetic field.
      So, were it to reverse TODAY, which it won't, the worst damage we'd have would be paying for new maps showing which way magnetic north is and new compasses reversing north and south.

      February 15, 2011 at 1:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      yep, nothing unusual, it is the first of this solar cycle...e.g. a more powerful X6 happened in July 2000...
      "The X6 flare triggered a radiation storm around Earth nicknamed the Bastille Day event"

      February 15, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kraznodar

      The North Pole is migrating into Siberia so the weather patterns will continue to change. This flare is no big deal. I'm just waiting for North America to get warmer already.

      February 15, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sully

      Books are your friend. Read about the magentosphere and what happens when plasma hits it. Then post...

      February 15, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Art In Chicago

    Man, the movie Knowing is really creeping me out now lol.

    February 15, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Nicholas Cage

      Hey Art....the funny thing is that these effeminate guys with white hair keep showing up at my house, creating havoc with my kids and keep handing them these glossy black rocks. But I chase them away by screaming bloody murder but they always come back in the middle of the night. I can't get ANY sleep with these gusy hanging around.

      February 15, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sue

    Can I just say, you guys are all hilarious! : D Interestingly though, this May thru Oct. is suppose to begin a period of the most intense solar flares since the 1950's. It's worth a look on the NASA website.

    February 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wzrd1

      THIS solar maximum COULD get rather expensive for satellite operators though.
      Might even pop power up in Canada and the northern US.

      February 15, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. gsaha

    what a bunch of morons.

    February 15, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  8. gsaha


    Isn't that when Globull Warming started?

    February 15, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  9. DJCowboy

    I like that it's only February and they say "biggest solar flare of the year". We still got 10 months to go

    February 15, 2011 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Semper Fi

    Biggest flare in the last 45 days! Wow.

    February 15, 2011 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Mohamad

    Allah's wrath.

    February 15, 2011 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • adam

      actualy allah is locked in my basement, dude doesnt shut up either. this is involving something called science and space. maybe ud like to educate urself mohammed

      February 15, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. DrFood

    The Sun is such a freakin' showoff...

    February 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Marco

    Here's a quarter.

    February 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gummybear

      Thanks.... off to get a popsicle.

      February 15, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. J Cat

    What?? A solar flare?? Does this mean we have to stock up on canned goods again? I'm still trying to make my way through my Y2K stash....

    February 15, 2011 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Josh

    Wish they'd give a time of when this thing's supposed to hit, so I'm less confused when my satellite goes down...

    February 15, 2011 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
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