'B' STANDS FOR ... BORING? On the Richter Scale of solar flares, B-class eruptions are weak and generally considered boring. Really? Consider the following B-class eruption recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on April 23rd.
That wasn't boring. On the contrary, the blast hurled hundreds of thousands of tons of plasma above the stellar surface with a power akin to millions of atomic bombs. The only thing more amazing than the blast was its aftermath. For all that power, the explosion was insufficient to break the plasma free from the sun's grasp. Magnetic fields arcing above underlying sunspot 1193 held tight to the expanding gas and pulled it back down with a dynamic double bounce.
One of the most significant findings from SDO, barely a year after First Light, is that there are no truly boring solar flares. The observatory's Hubble-like cameras have revealed hidden power and fascination in even the smallest eruptions, leaving us waiting with anticipation for the next B-flare. Stay tuned.source