Solar flares: Our sleeping sun has erupted with seven flares in seven days

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Our sun has sent forth seven flares in seven days. One is headed our way.

One, unleashed last week, was the solar equivalent of Hurricane Irma - a monster X9.3 storm. Even though it only struck Earth a glancing blow, this was enough to disrupt some radio communications.

Since then, the same cauldron of magnetic activity on the sun's surface has erupted with flare after flare.

Another big one, at magnitude X8.2, was blasted outwards overnight. It's arriving soon.


What makes these flares so significant is that the explosions have been strong enough to tear pieces of the sun away from itself, and fling them into space. It's called a coronal mass ejection (CME), and - depending on its strength - if one was to hit Earth the effects could range from an annoyance to catastrophic.

The latest warning from the Space Weather Prediction Centre is that the latest flare could cause a moderate disruption to radio communications over North and South America for up to an hour tonight.