What Is A Solar Flare?

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By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - Solar flares are the result of magnetic energy explosions on the surface of the Sun. NASA says when these occur, the sun lets off a wave of intense radiation equivalent of millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding at the same time.

The Earth's magnetic field protects us from the radiation released from these flares, but strong flares have been known to disrupt satellite and radio transmissions and electrical power plants.

The flip side is: As flares interact with our own magnetic field, it can touch off dazzling displays of the Northern Lights.

The sun routinely goes through active and quiet periods and flares are common during active periods. There have been a handful of flares over the past week, and the Northern Lights have been visible in the Northwest as a result.

Your Photos

YouNews November 26th November 26th
Less than two weeks ago it was single digits here, probably made it into the low 40's the past few days. Lilac has new buds all over it and this one has started to grow.
YouNews Monday Morning Sunrise Monday Morning Sunrise
These images of the sunrise with Mt. Rainier were taken around 8am Monday November 24th. The pictures were taken with a Nikon D3000 DSLR with a 50-200mm telephoto lens.