Astronomers have recorded the most powerful solar flare in the current solar cycle

On Tuesday, May 14, scientists recorded a solar flare that was among the twenty most powerful in the history of observations and the strongest in the current solar cycle. This was reported by Science Alert.

Sunspot AR 3664 ejected a powerful X8.7 flare, followed by a slightly weaker X3.4 flare the next day, May 15.

What are Class X outbreaks?

Class X flares are the most powerful of those that our Sun can produce. According to the scientists, these flares occurred on the far side of the Sun, out of view from Earth, which reduces the likelihood of a solar storm.

However, the sunspot zone located just beyond the limb on the opposite side of the Sun, which should soon return to us, also emitted an X2.9 flare on May 15. This means that solar storms may occur on Earth in the coming days.

Solar maximum

Such a surge in solar activity may indicate the achievement of a solar maximum – the peak of the 11-year cycle of solar activity, when the largest number of sunspots, flares and coronal mass ejections are observed.

This solar cycle has been much more active than originally predicted, which is great news for solar and aurora researchers. This provides us with more data that will help us understand the behavior of solar cycles, which in turn will help us more accurately predict the timing of solar maxima and minima, as well as the strength of future solar cycles.

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