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Solar Flares * Solar flares are rapid and intense brightenings on the sun that release magnetic energy that has been built up in the solar atmosphere. * Radiation is emitted across all wavelengths. Most of it being in the form of x-rays. * Flares also accelerate charged particles to almost the speed of light and hurls large amounts of mass into space. * They last anywhere from seconds to a few hours and release energy on the order of approximately 10^27 ergs/sec. This energy release is ten million times greater than the energy released during a volcanic eruption. *Mass is heated to millions of degrees Kelvin.