Things are really starting to heat up on the sun. Our star blasted out yet another strong flare late Friday morning (Oct. 25), continuing a pattern of high and intensifying solar activity over the past few days.
The most recent flare, which erupted at 11:03 a.m. EDT (1503 GMT) Friday, registered as an X-class event, the most powerful type. It clocked in at X2.1 on the space weather scale, beating out the X1.7 flare that the sun fired off just seven hours earlier. (Astronomers classify solar flares into three categories — C, M and X — with C being the weakest and X the strongest.)
Friday’s two monster flares came closely on the heels of a moderate M-class eruption and another one that nearly reached X-class status, peaking at M9.4. The Wednesday night (Oct. 23) eruption that produced the M9.4 flare also generated a huge cloud of super-hot plasma known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), which can streak through space at millions of miles per hour.