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History-making Flares

Movie from SOHO, European Space Agency and NASA

Two of the strongest flares ever recorded flashed last fall during an astounding two-week tempest, seen in this sequence of images from the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellite.
A space weather advisory went out on October 21, 2003: "Intense active regions emerge on sun." In the next two weeks the sudden sunspot activity spawned more major flares and Earth-bound coronal mass ejections than had been seen all year. The fourth largest flare on record fired on October 28, accompanied by a shower of high-energy protons. Then, just as the sunspots were nearly rotated away from Earth, came the most powerful flare ever recorded.



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