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environment general science genetics health and medicine space technology May 28, 2003 
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Massive superflare
April 09, 2001

Last Monday the Sun blasted one of its largest flares in 25 years. The region from which it came—also harboring the largest sunspot of the current solar cycle—has continued to rotate with the Sun and is no longer in line with the Earth, so most of the flare’s energy was directed away from our planet. However, it was more powerful than the famous flare which disrupted power grids in Canada in 1989. It was the most powerful flare recorded since regular X-ray data became available in 1976.

Solar flares, among the solar system’s mightiest eruptions, are tremendous explosions in the atmosphere of the Sun, capable of releasing as much energy as a billion megatons of TNT. They are caused by the sudden release of magnetic energy.
image: NASA
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