back to article The Sun ERUCTATES huge ball of GAS at 4 MILLION MPH

NASA has published images and a video of a massive solar flare that the sun belched forth at 4.4 million miles per hour, which lasted from 0039 until 0103 UTC on Tuesday morning, and reached its peak at 0049. Different wavelengths reveal different details of the X-class solar flare (click to enlarge) The images were …


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  1. Charles Manning

    What does X mean?

    "X2 flare being twice as intense as an X1, and so on". That really tells us nothing.

    is X a linear scale? X4 is twice as big as X2 and 4 times as big as X1.

    or, like many things such as earthquakes, is X exponential. ie. each step in X being double. ie. X2 is double X1, X3 is double X2, so X4 would be 8 times as big as X1.

    Goggles: you need them to look at the sun!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What does X mean? @Charles Manning

      I think it's fair to assume linear unless told otherwise. Two minutes' searching confirms that on Wikipedia and Interestingly, NASA doesn't give you the spoonfeeding you want either, so you might want to complain to them too.

    2. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: What does X mean?

      "Goggles: you need them to look at the sun!"

      You use your goggles. I'll use a satellite. :D

      1. Crisp


        Are you saying that the goggles, they do nothing?

      2. sisk

        Re: What does X mean?

        He uses goggles, you use a satellite...I'll use Google. Image search that is. (Who can afford a flipping satellite on my salary?)

    3. Richard Tobin

      Re: What does X mean?

      The scale measures power per unit area of solar X-rays, measured by earth satellites. It starts at A1, which is 10^-8 W/m^2, and increases linearly up to A9 (9x10^-8). Then instead of A10 for we have B1 (10^-7), and similarly up to B9, then C1 (10^-6) up to C9, then M1 (10^-5) up to M9, and then X1 (10^-4). There's no scale beyond X, so after X9 we just continue with X10.

      An X4.9 flare is large but not exceptional. The largest recorded was at least X28 (during the previous solar maximum, in 2003), but it went off the scale of the recording instruments. The Carrington event of 1859 may have been even bigger. The current solar maximum is a weak one and we haven't had anything bigger than X7.

      Look at for a graph labelled in both A/B/C/M/X scales and plain W/m^2.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What does X mean?

        " It starts at A1, which is 10^-8 W/m^2, and increases linearly up to A9 (9x10^-8)."

        Given that sound pressure is measured in W/m^2, we can presumably use a similar method for measuring human belches (audible volume, obviously not quality), and the X scale looks remarkably well placed for this, as 10^-4 W/m^2 is about the same as a noisy radio or raised voices.

        Mrs Ledswinger (who is naturally blessed in the belching department) can let rip with noise levels akin to shouting, so I'm guessing that she's achieving X5, possibly pushing to an X6 when suitably fuelled. Can other commentards (or their spouses) better that?

  2. ben edwards

    Why worry?

    If it really can burn us, what is there to really worry about? I'd rather go in the first attack than hang around waiting to be eaten by the "survivors".

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Solar acne

    The sun has reached puberty - This looks like a massive solar pimple popping.

  4. Mark 85

    A near miss? Or...

    Quote: They do note, however, that the region of the Sun from which the X4.9 CME was ejected is currently rotating to face the Earth, and that it will be aimed more directly at us in a week or so.

    So the Solarians fired a warning shot across our bow?

  5. Julian Bradfield

    That would be "with *us* puny humans".

  6. Zog_but_not_the_first

    Gas problems

    Sol beer and a good chilli has that effect on me.

  7. Stephen 24

    "Stay Tuned"

    Reassuring that they think the radios will still be working then...

  8. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    Might still get hit by some of the side blast from this thing.

    Just saying...

  9. ColonelClaw

    Woah, I'm getting flashbacks to my teenage years spent squeezing zits

  10. Billy Bob Gascan


    There is no such word as erucate and if it existed, the Sun would have erucatED it (past tense).

    1. Martin Budden Silver badge

      Re: ERUCATES!!!

  11. agricola

    Why I won't let my children resd El Reg...


    Isn't that a dirty word? For shame, potty-mouth.

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