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These pages are about solar flares, the biggest explosions in the solar system. Their purpose is to provide

some general information about solar flares.
a "feel" for scientific research into the energetic emissions from flares.
a glance into the future of solar flare research.

In these pages we address the general questions:

What is a solar flare?
Why study solar flares?
What impact do solar flares have on human activities?

and the following questions specific to the study of solar flares in hard x-rays:

What are hard x-rays?
Why study solar flares in hard x-rays?
What does a solar flare look like when seen in hard x-rays?

Why does the solar flare look like this in hard x-rays?

Sad Sun Image

What does this have to do with NASA?

X-rays from the Sun and other objects in the sky
can only be observed from above the Earth's atmosphere.
Solar flares have been imaged by the Hard
X-ray Telescope on the Yohkoh Satellite.

NASA's Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager
is currently observing the high-energy radiation
from solar flares.

Happy Sun Image


NEW!Space Weather: What Impact Do Solar Flares
Have on Human Activities?


RHESSI Model iconRead "The Mysterious Origins of Solar Flares"
in the April, 2006, issue of Scientific American

RHESSI Model icon
Assemble a Paper Model of the RHESSI Spacecraft

(Requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

Crossword Puzzle IconUse the knowledge you gain from these pages to solve the
Solar Flare Theory Crossword Puzzle


Q&AAnswers to Readers' Questions


Links & Books iconOther Web sites and some good, old-fashioned books that contain information about the Sun


video iconSeveral of the web pages in this site contain short video animations in Video for Windows (AVI) and MPEG format. These are best viewed with your video player set to continuously cycle (Auto Repeat) the video.


next arrowNext: What is a Solar Flare?

glossary iconThese web pages contain hyperlinks to terms in a solar physics glossary. Choose this link (if your browser supports frames) to view the glossary simultaneously with subsequent pages, starting with "What is a Solar Flare?".

TOC icon Table of Contents

mail icon We would appreciate any questions, comments, or suggestions. Please send e-mail.

Web Author: Gordon Holman
Web Author: Sarah Benedict

Responsible NASA Official: Gordon D. Holman
Heliophysics Science Division
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Solar Physics Laboratory / Code 671
Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA

Pages Posted: September 23, 1996

Last Revised: August 1, 2007

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