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The Earth is incredibly lucky again

An incredible chain of absolutely exceptional solar events began on February 22, 2024. Two powerful flares occurred on the Sun one after another. The first was registered at 2 a.m. Moscow time. The second occurred between 9 and 10 am. Both flares resulted in the ejection of large volumes of coronal mass.

Scientists gave these flares the highest power rating of X and noted that two such strong events in a row is an extremely rare occurrence. After all, every major outbreak depletes solar energy reserves. Two X-power flares that occurred within hours of each other are a telltale sign that our star is in a state of extremely high activity.

But it turned out that the outbreaks on February 22 were only preparation for what happened on the night of February 23, 2024. In the period from 01:08 to 01:43 Moscow time, instruments conducting round-the-clock monitoring of “sunny weather” suddenly recorded another powerful “explosion” of coronal mass on our luminary. This outbreak not only exceeded in power the two outbreaks that occurred the day before, but also became the largest in 7 years.

The February 23 flare is classified as an X6.3 power event. A flare of this magnitude has not occurred on the Sun since 2017. The second place in the current cycle of solar activity is occupied by the New Year's flare on January 1, 2024.

In addition, the February 23 event differs from the “preparatory” flares of February 22 in that it occurred in close proximity to the Sun-Earth line. Flares that occur in this zone usually threaten our planet with streams of solar plasma. Until now, all the record-breaking flares of the current solar cycle have occurred at the edges of the visible solar disk and have not had a significant impact on the Earth. This time the event was the most dangerous for the magnetosphere and technosphere of our planet. Scientists around the world were tensely waiting for updated data...

However, around 12 o'clock on February 23, information appeared that this time it seemed to have happened again. Scientists processed information from the LASCO space coronagraphs - the movement of plasma flows towards our planet was not confirmed. The flare was localized in the solar corona and did not lead to large ejections of matter into interplanetary space.

If we were so surprisingly unlucky, then already this Sunday powerful streams of plasma would have fallen on our planet at a speed of 1000 km/s. This would lead to a strong magnetic storm and auroras in the southern regions.

This time it worked out again. But the solar region number 3590, in which the flare occurred, will remain in the maximum danger zone for the Earth for another 3-4 days. In addition, the Sun is steadily approaching the maximum of the current cycle. This means that earthlings should not relax. A star called the Sun may be preparing new “surprises” for us.

The Earth is incredibly lucky again