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  big, bigger, biggest solar flares!
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big, bigger, biggest solar flares!

 

When a solar flare goes off, its plasma can get as hot as 50 million ºC. Material that hot emits a lot of radiation. Here is a plot of the X-ray brightness of a flare observed by a satellite called GOES. It shows how the brightness of the solar flare varies with time.

 

 

Notice how the Sun suddenly becomes very, very bright in X-rays before returning back to normal again. The y-axis (the vertical axis) is marked with letters from A to X.

 

This is simply a code we use to classify the maximum brightness reached by a particular flare.

 

So a small flare is called an A-class flare and the really big ones are X-class flares.

 

Don't get confused here with all these 'X's - all flares give off a lot of X-rays. An X-class flare is just the very brightest of all.

 

Big solar flare

In October 2003 SOHO recorded some of the largest X class flares ever seen.

 

 

 
 
   

 

   
 
 

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