The sun has been releasing solar flares- bursts of high energy radiation, since September 4, with the most powerful one since at least 2008 being released on Wednesday morning, NASA confirmed on Twitter. Two massive sunspots have appeared on its surface, giving out solar flares consistently in these few days, as reported by The Conversation.
Scientists have stated that the flares are likely to enter the Earth's atmosphere at the polar regions, affecting satellites and communication systems. The first coronal mass ejection from the sun hit earth on September 7, causing a small geomagnetic storm. Another ejection hit earth on the same evening, causing more radiation storms, some in the areas affected by Hurricane Irma.
The sunspots are visible through solar viewing glasses and telescopes, causing speculation about the sun's unusual activities. The sun has 11-year cycles of activity and the last one was in 2014, which makes the recent flares out of the schedule. In fact, 2017 should have had minimum solar activity. Instead, the sun has become a spot of dramatic activity over the past few days.
Beautiful displays of northern and southern lights have been caused due to the solar flares, called Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis respectively. These lights are caused by electrons when they hit the air molecules in the Earth's atmosphere, giving them energy in the form of a burst of light.
Scientists have predicted that the display of lights might also take place over the US, in areas around Washington, Montana, Minnesota, Michigan, the Dakotas, Wisconsin, New York, and New England, creating a gorgeous visual of natural fireworks.