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  who first noticed solar flares?
  a closer look at solar flares
  why does a solar flare happen at all?
  big, bigger, biggest solar flares!
  how explosive are solar flares?
  are solar flares dangerous?

What are solar flares?



Hi, we're Sarah and Louise and we think the Sun is a real firecracker. We're interested in the Sun's really violent explosions (called solar flares) when loads of powerful X-rays are given off. Studying solar flares is great fun - from a safe distance of course! So what are solar flares? Find out in our solar flares' section.


For the latest news on solar flares visit our iSun|trek website.




See all those really bright regions on the Sun in this X-ray picture? We call these active regions and they are the places where solar flares happen.


X-ray of the Sun

Even though it might seem as if the Sun gives off a constant amount of light and heat, it actually changes a lot. Although you'd never realise it from here on Earth, there are huge solar flares happening on the Sun's surface all the time.


You can see these solar flares best in a false colour X-ray picture.

You can see more movies in our Gallery   [Movie file 1mb or more - High quality]

Take a look at this X-ray movie from the YOHKOH satellite. See how the Sun’s corona changes over a period of a few days.




Here's an X-ray movie of the Sun mouse over arrow, covering a few hours, taken by the YOHKOH spacecraft. Did you see that massive solar flare on the right? It was so big that the camera couldn't soak up all the X-rays it saw from that small area - it was overloaded - and produced that long vertical white streak in the images.


It's a good job we're 150,000,000 km away from all this activity. You wouldn't want to be close to the source of all those X-rays.




Are solar flares dangerous? Why does a solar flare erupt? Follow our trail to find out how much we know about solar flares and what more we need to know.




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