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Bigger Solar Flares Coming! Get your Sun Screen

Two Large Solar Prominences Erupt On Sun
Photo by SOHO/ESA/NASA/Getty Images
A massive X-Class solar flare that erupted on Tuesday could be a harbinger of more threatening solar explosions and resultant magnetic storms to come. NOAA has predicted Earth could be hit by at least four gigantic solar storms in the next couple of years, which could cause global disruptions in GPS systems, power grids, satellite communications and airline communications. NOAA predicted four “extreme” solar emissions which could threaten the planet this decade, while NASA has warned that a peak in the sun’s magnetic energy cycle and the number of sun spots or flares around 2013 could cause extremely high radiation levels. The solar flare on Tuesday, which began at 3.48 a.m. [ET] had recorded an X6.9 class on the three class scale used to measure the strength of solar flares. It was three times larger than the previous flare of this solar cycle – the X2.2 that occurred on February 15, 2011. The weakest flares are rated C-class, medium sized flares are M-class, while the strongest type of solar eruptions are rated X-class. With solar activity expected to peak around 2013, the Sun is entering a particularly active period and big flares like the recent one will likely be common during the next few years.

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