As our precious source of renewable energy, the sun sits at the center of the universe and emits solar energy in large quantities at a constant rate for 24 hours per day, every day of the year. Sometimes it’s easy to forget how hard the star works for us.
The sun is so hot, the corona releases magnetic energy and causes solar flares to ripple throughout its surface. Severe flares have the ability to mangle satellites and potentially knock out power grids on Earth.
In November 2010, a major solar flare erupted–one of the most powerful in recent years–that sent a forceful blast of X-rays and registered a Class M 5.4 on the scale for sun storms. There are five categories of flares and Class M are the second most potent types.
In 5 billion year’s time, the Sun will have exhausted its supply of hydrogen in its core, which starts to collapse under is own weight and becomes very hot. The outer layers will expand, and enter the red giant phase of its evolution. Eventually, it will be big enough to swallow up the orbits of Mercury, Venus, and yes, even Earth.