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NASA ScienceCast: Solar Activity Heats Up

In 2008, the solar cycle plunged into the deepest minimum in nearly a century. Sunspots all but vanished, solar flares subsided, and the sun was eerily quiet. As 2011 unfolds, sunspots have returned and they are crackling with activity. On February 15th and again on March 9th, Earth orbiting satellites detected a pair of "X-class" solar flares--the most powerful kind of x-ray flare. The last such eruption occurred back in December 2006.

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Last Updated: 30 Jun 2011