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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sun unleashes largest solar flare in five years, sending 10billion ton storm cloud hurtling through space at 5million mph - 10th Aug 2011

The sun unleashed an unusually powerful solar flare yesterday, the largest in nearly five years.

The eruption launched a ten billion ton storm cloud hurtling through space at five million miles per hour.

Scientists said the event took place on the side of the sun that was not facing Earth, so there will be little impact to satellites and communication systems.

Joe Kunches at the U.S. government's Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado said there were reports of brief short-wave radio disruptions in Asia, but little else.

He said: 'We lucked out because the site of the eruption at the sun was not facing the Earth, so we will probably feel no ill-effects.'

The image was captured by Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory in extreme ultraviolet light at 131 Angstroms.

The sun is transitioning from a quiet period into a busier cycle. Scientists estimate there will be a spike in the number of such solar eruptions over the next three to five years.

The last time there was such a strong solar flare was in December 2006. Read More