Twinkle twinkle little flare?

solar flare

Often times, the sky is the limit, but for NASA, that’s not the case.  Since its establishment on July 29, 1958, NASA has continuously led the United States, and the rest of the world to believe there is more to life than we can see-literally.  NASA’s philosophy is once again fulfilled with the recent capturing of the “one-two punch” solar flare, as described by Becky Oskin, on video.  A “one-two punch” solar flare is a solar flare, or a high-energy eruption on the surface of the sun, quickly followed by another. These solar flares can often result in geomagnetic storms on the sun which can compete with or create electromagnetic disruptions on Earth or with our satellites. Erupting at 1:46 pm on September 11, 2014, a X1.6 class solar flare occurred from sunspot AR2158, following another solar flare that had occurred the previous Monday, September 7, 2014.

The rareness of the “one-two punch” solar flare was noted by Tom Berger, the director of the Space Weather Prediction Center, a comment that could have possibly been drawn on how solar flares occur more at certain points during the eleven year cycle of the sun. It has been concluded that geomagnetic storms are caused by CME’s, or coronal mass ejections. There is not necessarily a need for excess concern due to having two solar flares occur at relatively close times, except for people to be aware of their potential consequences/effects. As people, we are not directly affected by these solar flares thanks to the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere; however, solar flares do have the potential to interrupt human created systems such as global positioning systems and satellites. This then denotes the fact that most new, GPS relying drivers are the only ones that need to fear the occurrence of a solar flare.


Holman, Gordon D. “Space Weather.” Space Weather. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.

NOAA Scientist Finds Clue to Predicting Solar Flares. Digital image. NOAA. NOAA, 19 Jan. 2010. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.

Oskin, By Becky. “Solar Flares to Hit Earth in Rare One-Two Punch.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, 11 Sept. 2014. Web. 14 Sept. 2014.

Plumer, Brad. “Two Big Solar Storms Have Hit Earth – Creating Stunning Auroras and a Few Disruptions.” Vox. Vox Media Inc., 12 Sept. 2014. Web. 15 Sept. 2014.

2 thoughts on “Twinkle twinkle little flare?

  1. Caitlin Marie Gailey

    Upon reading your article I did some research and what I found about these solar storms was surprising. You were correct that this flare, like many others, had minimal to almost no affect on Earth, however the potential for damage is great. It is possible that a solar storm could knock out much of the power grids in the Northeast. What I found even more interesting was that there is an entire business focused on space weather, including tracking it and preventing us from being harmed by it. I had no idea such an industry existed until reading this article
    In addition I found video of the actual flares that I think some may find interesting. It doesn’t appear quite like one would assume.

  2. Katherine Jane Ballantyne

    Maybe the solar flares are the cause of the PSU wifi issues.. (Not meant to be a critically thought out tweet)

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