The sun

Essay by coolwa2215 April 2004

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

Downloaded 65 times

A Solar Flare is a rapid release of energy from a localized region on the Sun in the form of electromagnetic radiation, energetic particles, and mass motions. The size of a solar flare varies. One flare can be the size of a sunspot or the size of a whole sunspot group. It usually has a temperature similar to that of the sun's photosphere. The amount of time it takes for a flare to last varies directly with its size. The smaller flares last for approximately ten minutes. Larger flares can last up to one full hour. The energy released during a flare is normally equivalent to 1027 ergs per second. Large flares can release up to 1023 ergs of energy, which is 10 million times greater than the energy released from a volcanic explosion. The amount of energy released is equivalent to millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding at the same time.

It is caused by the release of magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere. Once released radiation is emitted across the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Transferring from radio waves to x-rays and then gamma rays. As the magnetic energy is being released electrons, protons and heavy nuclei is heated and sent off into the solar atmosphere. Furthermore, the predictability of flares coincides with the Sun's eleven-year cycle. It is observed for a solar flare to occur when the Sun approaches it's maximum part of its cycle. When the solar cycle is at a minimum active solar flares are rarely detected.

Sun Spots are dark spots that move across the surface of the sun, contracting and expanding as they go. They are often big enough to be seen with the naked eye. Some are as large as 50,000 miles in diameter. A sunspot only lasts a week...