An fast, intense X1-class solar flare yesterday afternoon not only blasted a cloud of solar electrons and protons into space but also sent magnetic ripples across Earth’s upper atmosphere creating what astronomers call a magnetic crochet. Normally it takes an average of 4 days for a cloud of fast moving solar particles called a coronal mass ejection or CME to reach the Earth. Fast ones moving at 620 miles per second 1,000 km/sec arrive in about 42 hours. But energy levels rose so rapidly in yesterday’s flare that Earth’s atmosphere was affected only minutes after the onset of the storm. How could something from the sun get here so fast? Well, it does everyday. Sunlight traverses the 93 million miles between Earth and sun in just 8.3 minutes. There are many forms of light from radio waves to visible light to X-rays. Flares are so powerful they kick out waves of light energy across the entire spectrum from radio to deadly gamma rays. via Astro Bob.
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