The Massive February 15, 2011 X Flare on the Sun

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An evening pause: On February 15, 2011, the Sun emitted its strongest flare in four years. Though the Sun continues to act relatively wimpy as it ramps up towards solar maximum, this flare was spectacular, mostly because we now have some amazing instruments in space to image and study it. This video does an excellent job explaining what was happening, as it happened. Watch, and enjoy.

And note, as powerful as this flare was, and despite the fact that it was pointed right at the Earth, it represented a relatively minor threat to our technological society, despite what some doomsayers might be claiming. A very active Sun can cause us problems, especially with power systems and electrical grids, but based on past experience during previous solar maximums, most power companies have taken careful steps to protect themselves from this risk. And with the Sun as weakly active as it is, the risks are further reduced. The doomsayers are simply shilling for more government research dollars.


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