X-Ray Sources: Sco X-1
Solar flares are accompanied by bursts of both radio emission observed with radio
telescopes and by X-ray bursts detected by satellites. The spectrum of an x-ray burst
sometimes includes emission lines from iron atoms which may have lost as many as 24
of their 26 electrons due to the temperatures in the flares! Even though the X-ray output
is considered to be minuscule (with a peak luminosity of approximately 1031 erg/sec),
the emission from flares can have great effects. They can affect the ability of the
atmosphere to reflect radio waves and can disrupt short-wave radio transmissions. The
March 1989 flare affected short-wave radio communication for 24 hours! The "steady"
X-ray output of the Sun, which is present even when there are no flares on the surface,
amounts to about 1027 ergs/sec, less than one-millionth of its optical luminosity and
one ten-billionth of the output of Sco X-1.
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