Describe the Differences Between Sunspots and Solar Flares

Describe the Differences Between Sunspots and Solar Flares

Radiations Facts

  • The Sun sometimes emits cosmic radiation during various solar events.
  • Solar events include coronal mass ejections, sunspots, and solar flares.
  • Solar events can interfere with communications systems on World.

Cosmic radiation is emitted during solar events, including sunspots, solar flares, coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and proton storms. The Earth’southward temper works like a shield, keeping out large amounts of this radiation. Cosmic radiation is of detail business organisation to astronauts and equipment in space.

On this page:

  • About Radiation From Solar Action
  • What you can do
  • Where to learn more

Virtually Radiations From Solar Activity

Solar flares, CMEs and geomagnetic storms are examples of farthermost Sun activeness that can send bursts of energy toward Earth. Some of this energy is in the form of ionizing radiation, some of the free energy is magnetic free energy, and some is ultraviolet radiation.


The image is a close up of the sunday. In the orange and yellow circle, information technology has a few small black spots towards the lower center, which are an active region of sunspots—nigh 80,000 miles beyond.
Source: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sunspots are very stiff magnetic fields on the surface of the Sun. These magnetic fields can get twisted, storing energy like a rubber band. They appear nighttime on the surface of the Sun, because they are cooler than the surrounding areas. The magnetic fields that create sunspots prevent some of the Sunday’southward heat from reaching the surface of the Sun. When sunspots interact with each other they crusade explosions of energy.

Solar flares are big eruptions of energy coming off the Sun containing several different forms of energy: oestrus, magnetic energy, and ionizing radiations. The ionizing radiations released during solar flares includes x-rays and gamma rays. These rays of ionizing radiation can damage satellites because they are in space and are not protected by the World’s atmosphere. Magnetic energy from solar flares tin can interrupt radio communication on World or damage communications satellites.

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Solar Flares

A picture of the Lord’s day from NASA’due south Goddard Telescope shows a significant solar flare on the right-side edge of the Sun.
Source: NASA

Solar flares look like vivid flashes of lite on the Sun. They tin terminal as little as a few minutes, or as long as a few hours.

While solar flares are massive explosions, you withal need specialized equipment to see them on the surface of the Sun.

Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and Proton Storms

The almost powerful solar flares are huge bursts of 10-rays and electrified hot gas called coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which bung solar thing into space. CMEs can create proton storms. Protons are the positively charged particles from the nucleus of an atom. The explosion that creates the CME accelerates the protons effectually the Sun to nearly the speed of calorie-free. These protons deport dangerous amounts of energy that tin can break chemical bonds.

The charged particles from a proton storm interact with the atmosphere and crusade spectacular changes to the temper known as the aurora borealis or northern lights. The light and x-rays from CMEs reach Earth’s atmosphere in about eight minutes. Commonly, the World’s atmosphere protects people from proton storms.

A picture show in the forest at night captures a green glow and a pink line that is the Aurora Borealis in Denali National Park.
Source: U.S. National Park Service (NPS)

Proton storms can interfere with ham radio communication and damage satellites, causing short circuits in electric systems and shutting down computers. Considering powerful proton storms have the potential to cause a lot of damage to technology that nosotros rely on, the National Helmsmanship and Space Administration (NASA) tracks the Sun’south activity so we tin set for large proton storms. NASA besides researches new ways to protect astronauts in infinite, such equally those on the International Space Station (ISS).

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What You lot Can Practise

  • Protect yourself.
    Radiation from solar activeness is a natural office of our environment and does not threaten our wellness on a day-to-day basis. UV rays from the sun pose a much college risk to human health. Y’all should accept steps to protect yourself from UV radiation, such as wearing sunscreen and protective clothing.

Describe the Differences Between Sunspots and Solar Flares