The Sun Wakes Up: Huge Solar Flare

By Jason Meyers, Meteorologist

February 17, 2011 Updated Nov 24, 2013 at 9:11 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana’s NewsCenter) - Valentine's Day was more than just rekindling an old flame for the sun. It was about the biggest solar flare in more than 4 years.

The energy from this flare is now headed for Earth, and it's already disrupted some radio communications in China. While it's not expected to cause any problems in the United States, this still marks the beginning of a new solar cycle.

The last few years, we've been in what's called a solar minimum, or decreased solar activity. These cycles typically last 11 years. The next solar maximum is expected to occur sometime in 2013.

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