Solar flares are the most energetic explosions in the solar
Solar flares have a direct effect on the Earth's atmosphere.
The intense radiation from a solar flare travels to Earth in eight minutes. As a result:
- The Earth's upper atmosphere becomes more ionized and expands.
- Long distance radio signals can be disrupted by the resulting change in the Earth's ionosphere.
- A satellite's orbit around the Earth can be disturbed by the enhanced drag on the satellite from the expanded atmosphere.
- Satellites' electronic components can be damaged.
particles accelerated in solar flares that escape into
interplanetary space are dangerous to astronauts and to
electronic instruments in space.
Similar energy release processes take place in other cosmic events. These events occur on objects that are too far away to study in the detail that solar flares can be studied on the Sun. Understanding solar flares can aid in understanding these events.
These objects include:
provide an opportunity to study physical processes in nature that
are similar to those that occur in laboratory devices designed
for the purpose of achieving controlled thermonuclear
Next: Coronal Mass Ejections, Solar
Flares, and the Sun-Earth Connection
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