Late Sunday night, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the first ‘X-class’–i.e. really powerful–solar flare of 2013. Which was cool, and they’d been expecting it, so no biggie.
But then there were another two. In the next 23 hours. From the same spot on the Sun. Should we be scared? Has our reliable old star entered some kind of monsoon season that comes every 10,000 years, auguring the apocalypse and end of all humanity?
Seems not. Although “An X-class flare in our direction, combined with a colossal, interplanetary CME (coronal mass ejection), could have serious consequences here on Earth.”
And “X-class flares and their associated coronal mass ejections can lead to mindblowing northern lights at very non-northern latitudes… [and] can also trigger massive geomagnetic storms, jam satellites, ground airplanes, and precipitate global radio blackouts.”
Space, eh? It’s like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get.