The sun’s solar flare activity appears to be hotting up: a massive X-Class solar flare erupted early on Sunday (Oct. 19) from a huge sunspot, and astronomers fear that this could just be the beginning of a spate of sizeable flares.

Solar flares are explosions of energetic radiation that can have potentially devastating effects on our communication systems, causing radio blackouts and affecting satellite measurements. Flares are categorised into three types, with grade C being the least powerful, grade M a medium-level flare, and grade X being the most powerful of all. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft captured images of the latest huge flare which was classified as a formidable X1.1.
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Alas, it’s us humans – People are in denial about climate change (and other things as well), but no matter what they say, scientists insist that sunspots and solar cycles are not the cause of current global warming.

The idea that sunspot activity is the cause of global warming just isn’t true. The problem started with studies published in 1991 and 1998 that claimed to establish a link between global temperatures and solar activity. However, most scientists now believe that these studies are seriously flawed. When the errors in them were removed by researcher Peter Laut, the link between sunspots and global warming disappeared as well. While the sun plays a role in climate change, it is a very minor one.
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…rather than a hot one – For the past two years, the sun has undergone a phase of relative inactivity, meaning usual solar phenomena such as sun flares, sun spots, and solar eruptions have all but disappeared. “It’s a dead face,” researcher Saku Tsuneta says of the solar surface.

Tsuneta is with the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan and was one of the participants at the MSU conferenceThe good news is that without such intense solar activity disruptions to space technology and even our beloved gadgets here on earth have been minimal. While this provides some relief to those of us whose cell phones dropped calls at the tiniest solar flare, scientists are concerned that this means bigger things to come for Earth’s climate.
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