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The largest sunspot ever formed this week

The solar eruption was too big to measure * Scientists: "This is the most dramatic solar week in history"

In the photo on the left: the eruption of the sun (the white spot on the right), yesterday evening a photo: the SOHO satellite, and another photo where the spot is visible when the sun's wheel is covered. This photo was also taken by Soho

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The BBC website says: "By the time the scientists involved in the study of the sun thought it had already calmed down, it revealed the largest solar flare ever recorded. It was so energetic that it overloaded the instruments that monitor the sun's surface.

Yesterday, at 9:55 in the evening, the astronomers recorded a historic moment: the most powerful solar flare, at least since such eruptions began to be recorded. A huge cloud of hot gas is ejected from the sun, near "area -" 486 sunspot which is 15 times larger than the earth and which is considered the most active on the sun.
Solar eruptions occur when magnetic energy builds up in the sun's atmosphere, near the sunspot - a colder region on the sun, characterized by strong magnetic fields - and is then ejected in a massive burst, equivalent to the eruption of 10 million volcanoes. A bright spot appears above the "rim" of the sun, indicating the place of the eruption, and radio, x-ray and gamma rays and electrically charged particles are emitted into space. The length of the eruptions may reach about 200 thousand km, their height to several tens of thousands of km and thickness to several thousand. Strong eruptions are observed once every few years, and "quiet" eruptions can occur several times a day.

Yesterday's eruption came at the end of ten days in which an unusual wave of eruptions was recorded. The satellite - SOHO sent by the European Space Agency and the American Space Agency and which records all the activity on the surface of the sun - recorded several strong eruptions these days, at degrees 7 and 10 on the X scale (used to measure strong eruptions). At the end of the week, the astronomers believed that the series of eruptions had reached the end, however, on Monday an eruption of X3 intensity was recorded and on Tuesday a tremendous eruption was recorded. Its strength is still being tested, but astronomers estimate that it is the strongest in the last decades - since the eruptions began to be recorded. However, until the data processing was completed, the intensity of the eruption was rated "only" - X17 because it was so strong that some of the measuring instruments on the satellite were out of order for a short time.

The largest solar flares recorded so far occurred in 2001 and 1989 and their intensity was rated X20. Now, in view of the estimate that the latest eruption is greater than X20, scientists are considering re-examining the rating methods. The eruptions are classified according to the wavelength of the X-rays emitted, and categorized in three scales: 9-1 scale, C for minor eruptions that have no or little effect on the Earth; The M scale, which categorizes moderate eruptions that may cause radio interference in the polar regions; And the X scale for strong and long bursts, which may affect satellites, navigation systems, the electricity supply and more (see box).

"I think that the last week will go down in history as the most dramatic week in terms of solar activity that has ever been recorded in human history," said Dr. Pal Barka, deputy director of the scientific project of the SOHO satellite to the BBC. The 11-year cycle of sunspots used as an "eruption factory" - which peaked only three years ago.

Despite the fear, for now there is no damage to the earth

The solar flares, reassure the scientists, do not affect the health of humans. However, they sometimes affect the electricity system, and in the US the latest wave of outbreaks is being monitored for fear of another outage, just a few months after the major power outage in the eastern US. However, at this stage the scientists estimate that only a small part of the gas cloud emitted yesterday may reach the earth, today and tomorrow.

Solar flares may also affect the activity of satellites, navigation systems and more. In January 1997, for example, the Telstar 401 satellite stopped working. Other satellites also suffered malfunctions that day. From an analysis of data received from the SOHO satellite, which records the surface of the sun, it became clear that two days earlier a strong solar eruption had occurred, which raised the level of radiation to which the satellites were exposed and thus caused disruptions.

The eruptions are also accompanied by a "polar glow", a phenomenon in which the particles thrown with great force towards the earth are drawn to the poles and rub in the atmosphere, which causes them to glow.

Based on a news report by Yuval Dror, Haaretz, voila! and on the BBC website
For news at the BBC
The solar knower

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