Solar Flares, Sunspots, and the Solar Cycle

Description:  A solar flare is a sudden increase in the Sun's brightness. The flare ejects ions, electrons, and atoms into space which reach the Earth and cause auroras and may disrupt communication. The massive amount energy released in a solar flare originally comes from nuclear fusion in the Sun's core but the mechanism of energy transfer is not fully understood. Solar flares tend to emanate from dark areas on the Sun known as sun spots. Sun spot numbers cycle on an 11-year period known as the solar cycle. Students could discover this cycle on their own, make predictions based on the cycle, or attempt to connect these phenomenon to the nuclear fusion driving the entire process.

Web Resources:  Solar Flare - Wikipedia, Solar Cycle - Wikipedia

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