In 1850, a British astronomer called Carrington found a small flash on the surface of the sun the flash lasting for about 5 minutes in the observation of sunspots. He thought he had happened to see a large meteorite falling on the sun. By the 1920s, with more sophisticated instruments to study the sun, it had been found that this "solar flare" was a common thing and its appearance was often associated with sunspots. In 1899, for example, American astronomer Hoare invented a kind of solar spectrometer, which can be used to observe the light of a certain wave length from the sun. In this way, people can take photos of the sun with the light of hydrogen and calcium in the sun's atmosphere.
It turned out that the solar flare had nothing to do with any meteorite, instead the flash was out of a brief explosion of hot hydrogen.
Small flashes of light in the sun are common and can be observed up to one hundred times a day in areas with dense sunspots, especially when the sunspots are "growing". Huge flashes like those seen by Carrington are rare, with little chance of occurring in a year.
Sometimes, the flash occurs right at the center of the sun's surface, so that it is directed towards the earth. After this outburst, strange things happen again and again on the earth. The aurora can be intense for days, sometimes even can be seen in temperate zones. The hands on the compass will also be restless and wildly swinging. Thus this effect is sometimes called a "magnetic storm".
With the development of science and technology, the mysteries of the aurora have become more and more known to people. It turns out that this beautiful scene is a collaborative piece of work of the sun and the atmosphere.
It is said by experts that it takes about eight minutes for the solar flare to be observed on earth after its emergence. It takes about half an hour for high-energy particles from solar storms to reach earth. In addition, the charged particles ejected by the corona reach earth in dozens of hours. During this time interval, the scale of the coming solar storm can be roughly estimated from how much the solar magnetic field, which results in solar flare, distorts. Thus active precautions can be taken, such as turning on the collection status of satellites, reducing the electric power to magnetic latitude or just cut off the power line, suspending aviation services across the polar regions so as to avoid or reduce the solar storm the harm of solar storm to human.
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