The sun can finally come out of his sleep.
This morning (May 29), our star fired its most powerful torch since October 2017, an outbreak discovered by NASA’s solar observation Solar dynamics observatory (SDO).
Solar flares are radiation surges that come from sunspots, temporary dark and relatively cool spots on the sun’s surface that have very strong magnetic fields. Scientists classify strong torches into three categories: C, M and X. Each class is ten times stronger than the one below; M torches are ten times stronger than C torches, but ten times weaker than events of the X class.
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Scientists set the start of new cycles to the “sun minimum”, the time when the sun does the least sport Sunspots and the least activity.
“However, it takes at least six months for sun observations and sun spots to be counted to know when they occurred,” NASA officials wrote in one today Update to announce SDO flare detection.
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“Because this minimum is defined by the lowest number of sunspots in a cycle, scientists need to see the numbers rise steadily before they can determine when they were exactly below,” added the officials. “This means that the solar minimum can only be identified after the fact: It can take six to 12 months to confirm when the minimum has actually been exceeded.”
So stay tuned! Further observations should tell us if we are already there Solar cycle 25.
Mike Wall is the author of “Out there“(Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for strange life. Follow him on Twitter @ Michaeleldwall. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook.