Hackaday Links: December 24, 2023

Back near the beginning of the current Solar Cycle 25, we penned an article on what the whole deal is with solar cycles, and what could potentially lie in store for us as the eleven-year cycle of sunspot population developed. Although it doesn’t really come across in the article, we remember being somewhat pessimistic about things, thinking that Solar Cycle 25 would be somewhat of a bust in terms of increased solar activity, given that the new cycle was occurring along with other, longer-period cycles that tend to decrease solar output. Well, looks like we couldn’t have gotten that more wrong if we tried, since the Sun lashed out with a class X solar flare last week that really lit things up. The outburst came from a specific sunspot, number 3514, and clocked in at X2.8, the most powerful flare since just before the end of the previous solar cycle. To put that into perspective, X-class flares have a peak X-ray flux of 10-4 watts/m², which when you think about it is a lot of energy. The flare resulted in a strong radio blackout; pretty much everything below 30 MHz was unusable for a while.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://hackaday.com/2023/12/24/hackaday-links-december-24-2023/