TAMPA, Florida – A rare astronomical event captivated scientists as four solar flares erupted simultaneously from various points on the Sun’s surface. Experts suggest that this unprecedented “quadruple” solar flare may have unleashed a solar storm headed towards Earth in the near future, as reported by Spaceweather.com.

   Sources at NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory noted that this extraordinary tetrad eruption commenced at approximately 01:00 am EDT on Tuesday (April 23). While three of the explosions originated from sunspots, the fourth emerged from a magnetic filament—a sizable loop of plasma hanging over the solar surface amidst the three dark patches.

   Remarkably, the eruption sites were located hundreds of miles apart, collectively covering about one-third of the solar surface directly facing Earth. These simultaneous blasts, known as sympathetic solar flares, are manifestations of a single outburst resulting from interconnected magnetic field loops that extend above the solar surface, linking the sunspots or filaments. When one erupts, the others tend to follow suit swiftly.

   Typically, sympathetic flares involve two sunspots and range in intensity, varying from smaller outbursts to the most potent solar flares, the X-class flares. However, the recent occurrence was unique, as twice the usual number of solar flares were observed, categorizing it as a “super-sympathetic” flare.

   Scientists remain uncertain about the magnitude of the blast when the sunspots merged. Yet, due to the extensive area affected, there is a likelihood that some debris, such as a substantial cloud of plasma and radiation known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), could be directed towards Earth. Should this be confirmed, the CME might impact our planet within the coming days, possibly resulting in mesmerizing auroras near the magnetic poles.

   This event marks the third sympathetic solar flare of 2024, with the first occurring in January, followed by a duo of X-class flares in March. A 2022 study revealed that sympathetic solar flares tend to manifest during or around the solar maximum, the peak activity phase of the Sun’s roughly 11-year solar cycle. Researchers analyzing nearly four decades of solar flare data suggest that this explosive peak may have initiated a year earlier than anticipated.

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