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Sun Has Been Very Busy

October 24, 2013; 8:46 AM

Many people have been commenting on how quiet the sun has been recently. Well that has certainly changes in a big way and very quickly!

Image of the Sun showing the sunspots that have caused all these flares

In the last 12 hours, the Sun has experienced five solar flares. Yesterday afternoon and evening, the Sun had a very rare event, back-to-back-to-back solar flares in a matter of hours. The last solar flare was the strongest of all five solar flares, a M9.3 flare (all five solar flares were M-class flares).

Image of one of the flares. The Sun is the light, bigger circle; the flare is the bright circular area in the middle.

If yesterday's event was not rare enough, this morning EDT had two more back-to-back flares. Very impressive!

So what does this mean to us on Earth? Well, in terms of our day-to-day life, not much. There were no disruptions to communications, WiFi or cell service because, those these flares were strong, you need a stronger flare to cause problems.

However, we will likely see an uptick in northern light activity Friday night and this weekend. Why is that? Well, one of our dedicated AccuWeather Astronomy experts Daniel Vogler has found evidence that a CME (coronal mass ejection) occurred and that it may be Earth directed. We will have more information on this event on AccuWeather Astronomy as we get some more data. Hopefully we can get a Kp of around 7!

Click here for Daniel's animated GIF images of the suspected CME.

Map of where the northern lights may be seen according to Kp levels

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The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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Astronomy Blog
The AccuWeather.com astronomy blog, by Mark Paquette, discusses stargazing and astronomy issues and how the weather will interact with current astronomy events.