|X1.2 class solar flare on May 14, 2013 - NASA/SDO|
"The sun storm erupted late Tuesday during a powerful solar flare -- the fourth unleashed by a single sunspot in just 48 hours -- and hurled a massive cloud of charged particles out into space at millions of miles an hour."
|AR1748 produced four X-class flares within 48 hours|
The big blob of particles and stuff is called a coronal mass ejection (CME), and it's really a lot -- a lot -- of stuff.
In fact, it was "billions of tons of solar particles" worth of stuff, reports UPI. And it's traveling at extreme speeds. "The CME which erupted at 5:24 a.m EDT left the sun at speeds of around 745 miles per second, and could cause a space weather phenomenon called a geomagnetic storm when it connects with the outside of the Earth's magnetic envelope known as the magnetosphere."
But should we be afraid? Space.com says that "this one isn't aimed directly at us," says Space.com, "so there's no cause for alarm, experts say." Whew. That's better, but.... what about next time?
- Busy, unruly sun NewsTimes
- AR 11748 Lets Go Another X-class Flare! Solar Dynamics Observatory blog
- Increased Solar Flares Disrupt Communications AccuWeather
- Solar Map of Active Regions Raben Systems
- Solar Flares Explained (video below)