Solar Flares the 8 Minute Journey flares are the biggest explosions in the universe, and the most energetic. They were first discovered by Galileo in the early 17th century, and then later on in 1859 by an English amateur astronomer by the name of Richard Christopher Carrington. Since then, they have not only been observed on the sun, but they have also been viewed on other stars as well.

A solar flare is a large explosion in the sun's atmosphere that can release as much as 6 × 1025 joules of energy(about a sixth of the total energy output of the sun each second). Although difficult to predict their occurrence with any certainty, the only warning lies in the fact that most proton storms take two or more hours from the time of visual detection to reach earth's orbit (providing little time to prepare for its impact).

Solar flares are caused by a process called magnetic reconnection whereby opposite magnetic fields on the sun's surface come together causing a sudden release of energy. Solar flares affect all layers of the solar atmosphere (photosphere, corona, and chromosphere), causing plasma to heat up to tens of millions of kelvins(a unit of measurement of temperature) and accelerating electrons, protons, and heavier ions to near the speed of light. In fact, while the fastest visit to the moon took 8 hours and 38 minutes, solar flares only take a mere 8 minutes to find their way into the earths ionosphere an can have damaging effects. These flares produce radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum at all wavelengths, from radio waves to gamma rays and as a result, can cause damaging effects on the earth such as: Loss of power systems, radiation poisoning, rendering chip ran vehicles powerless, affecting inter-planetary travel for astronauts, as well as cell phones (and other electronics) and satellite interruptions (as well as other systems operating at those frequencies).