6 November 2003

Latest Sun Flare Likely Strongest of Modern Era

A flare released by the Sun on Tuesday could be the most powerful ever witnessed, a monster X-ray eruption twice as strong as anything detected since satellites were capable of spotting them starting in the mid-1970s.

The strongest flares on record, in 1989 and 2001, were rated at X20. This one is at least that powerful, scientists say. But because it saturated the X-ray detector aboard NOAA's GOES satellite that monitors the Sun, a full analysis has not been done.

The satellite was blinded for 11 minutes.

The aurora australis gets another chance. On the other hand, if you're starting to obsess about sun storms, keep an eye on them.

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