A new NASA video from a spacecraft orbiting the Sun captured spectacular views of solar flares erupting from the star this week, just in time for Halloween.
The video, captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Orbiter, depicts hauntingly beautiful close-up views of solar flares blasting off the Sun between Oct. 25 and 28, culminating in a major X1-class solar storm that could intensify Earth’s northern lights displays over Halloween weekend.
“Brighter than a shimmering ghost, faster than the flick of a black cat’s tail, the sun cast a spell in our direction, just in time for Halloween,” NASA video caption reads.
Flare-ups can disrupt GPS and communication systems since our planet is shielded from celestial calamity by its surrounding atmosphere.
Our star’s incredible strength is highlighted in the video. The solar storm also produced spectacular auroras, aka northern lights, across North America. An ethereal glow is produced when charged particles from the Sun interact with Earth’s upper atmosphere. These particles are typically visible at high northern latitudes in our hemisphere since the Earth’s magnetic field directs them toward the poles.
Since December 2019, the Sun’s activity has continued to increase during its natural solar cycle. Each cycle lasts nearly 11 years and transitions from calm to stormy, then back to calm. Solar activity can become so intense that the magnetic poles of the Sun flip, unloading massive amounts of solar substances.
“Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation,” NASA officials stated in the video description. “Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, but they can disrupt the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel if they are intense enough.”
NASA stated that the most powerful X-class solar flare ever recorded was an X28-class flare, 28 times stronger than the recent flare.
These are the enormous explosions in the solar system, with energy equivalent to a billion hydrogen bombs. While the Sun is necessary for life on Earth, it can wreak unbearable havoc.