After witnessing two unusually major solar flares in the span of 30 days, space watchers are saying a series of solar activity is bound to take place in the coming days.
After four years without any X-flares, the sun has produced two of the powerful blasts in less than one month: Feb. 15th and March 9th. This continues the recent trend of increasing solar activity, and shows that Solar Cycle 24 is heating up, Spaceweather.com said.
It said that after a CME strike on March 10 and that Earth's magnetic field is still reverberating, causing northern lights to descend as far south as Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan. The report cited NOAA forecasters which estimate that there is a 5 percent chance of more X-flares during the next 24 hours.
The March 9 solar flare emitted waves charged particles that will hit Earth in the coming days, making auroras, or northern lights, visible. Auroras happen when the supercharged particles come into contact with Earth's magnetic field.
A Class X2.2 solar storm had erupted on Feb. 14, which was the most powerful solar flare in more than four years, Space.com said.
This week's mega solar flare, a Class X1.5 event, erupted from a region on the sun near a sunspot called 1166.
Besides creating for a dazzling celestial display of lights, what else can a mighty solar eruption cause? A lot, say experts. When aimed in Earth's direction, strong solar flares can potentially disrupt satellites and power grids, as well as pose a hazard to astronauts on spacecraft, says Space.com.