Nasa detects longest and highest-energy light from a solar flare


The longest and highest-energy light ever emitted from a solar blast was detected earlier this year, it has emerged.

Nasa’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope recorded the powerful eruption on the surface of the sun on March 7.

The flare produced such an outpouring of gamma rays – a form of light with even greater energy than X-rays – that the sun briefly became the brightest object in the gamma-ray sky.

A solar flare is an explosive blast of light and charged particles.

The powerful March 7 flare, which earned a classification of X5.4 based on the peak intensity of its X-rays, is the strongest eruption so far observed by Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT).

Nicola Omodei, an astrophysicist at Stanford University in California, said: ‘For most of Fermi’s four years in orbit, its LAT saw the sun as a faint, steady gamma-ray source thanks to the impacts of high-speed particles called cosmic rays.

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