IRIS Movie of the Day
At least once a week a movie of the Sun taken by NASA's Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) is posted by one of the scientists operating the instrument.
X-flares: An Intriguing Combination of Rarity, Intensity, and Beauty
Credit: IRIS, LMSAL/NASA, Jakub Prchlik
The above ultraviolet IRIS observation displays a rare and intense X1.6 solar flare. While aesthetically pleasing, scientists use flare observations to understand how flares are produced on the sun. Scientists sort solar flares into classes based on their intensity. The logarithmic flare classification scheme is A, B, C, M, and X in order of increasing intensity. That is, X-flares are the brightest flares and roughly 100 times brighter than C-flares. However, C-flares occur more frequently than X-flares. While rare and beautiful, X-flares can disrupt modern communication and navigation. Therefore, understanding what drives these flares is of increasing importance to our high-tech society.