What explosion in the upper solar atmosphere releases about as much energy as millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding simultaneously?
A solar flare is a sudden flash of brightness observed near the Sun’s surface. It involves a very broad spectrum of emissions, an energy release of typically 1 × 1020 joules of energy for a well-observed event.
What is a Solar Flare?
A flare is defined as a sudden, rapid, and intense variation in brightness. A solar flare occurs when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released. Radiation is emitted across virtually the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves at the long wavelength end, through optical emission to x-rays and gamma rays at the short wavelength end. The amount of energy released is the equivalent of millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding at the same time! The first solar flare recorded in astronomical literature was on September 1, 1859.