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Sun continues to spew

The sun continues its active streak this week, spitting out yet another solar flare from the same region that produced two powerful eruptions this week. 

Image

Skywatcher Kenneth Farmer took this photo of the sun showing AR1429 sunspot region on Wednesday. He says: "I live in San Francisco and took this photo yesterday through a telescope (with a solar filter) of the AR1429 sunspot region. This is the area that generated the massive solar flare."

Kenneth Farmer

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The sun is continuing its active streak this week, firing off another solar flare late Thursday (March 8) from the same region that produced this week's strong solar storm.

An M6.3-class solar flare — a mid-range eruption — spewed from the surface of the sun last night at 10:53 p.m. EST (0353 GMT March 9), according to an alert from the Space Weather Prediction Center, a joint operation by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Weather Service.

Space weather scientists use five categories — A, B, C, M and X — to rank solar flares based on their strength and severity. A-class flares are the weakest types of sun storms, while X-class eruptions are the most powerful.

The M-class solar flare exploded from the same sunspot region, called AR1429, which has been particularly active all week. This dynamic region has already unleashed three strong X-class solar flares. On Tuesday (March 6), two powerful X-class eruptions triggered the strongest solar storm in eight years, Bob Rutledge, head of NOAA's Space Weather Forecast Office, told reporters today (March 9).

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