The Sun unleashed what many are calling a “solar tsunami” on Friday, November 16, 2012, with two massive eruptions occurring within four hours. The action was caught by NASA’s space-bound Solar Dynamics Observatory, and you can see the footage in the above video.
Luckily, the eruption wasn’t aimed at Earth, so we shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
The Sun’s activity will reach it’s peak — the maximum of Solar Cycle 24 — in 2013. For the past year, we’ve witnessed its power slowly increase, with a number of M- and X-class flares, many of which have lit up the skies with incredible auroras.
If we can make it past this peak without running into any pesky doomsdays, the Sun will then begin its slow crawl back down to relative normalcy (or, if you want, the approach of a new solar minimum).
The Other Side Of The (Solar) Coin
Believe it or not, this solar cycle has been fairly tame compared to what scientists were expecting.
That could still change (and may have already changed, given the number of intense flares we’ve seen this year), but in 2011 scientists raised the possibility that this may be the last solar cycle we’ll experience for some time.
Just an interesting factoid. We’ll see how it goes.
Also check out this article on “nanoflares,” small flares that go unnoticed compared to the larger, potentially more destructive eruptions: In 6-minute mission, NASA tracks solar ‘nanoflares’