Solar Flares: What Does It Take to Be X-Class?

Solar flares are giant explosions on the sun that send energy, light and high-speed particles into space. These flares often are associated with solar magnetic storms known as coronal mass ejections, or CMEs. The number of solar flares increases approximately every 11 years. The sun currently is moving toward another solar maximum, likely in 2013. That means more flares will be coming — some small and some big enough to send their radiation all the way to Earth.

Find out more. Visit the X-Class solar flares website to read an article and watch a video.

The article and video are related directly to NASA Now: Solar Storms with Dr. Holly Gilbert from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. This program may be viewed or downloaded by logging into the NES Virtual Campus.

NASA Now Minute: Preview of the Solar Storms program