Metaculus Help: Spread the word
If you like Metaculus, tell your friends! Share this question via Facebook, Twitter, or Reddit.
Will there be an X-Class solar flare before October 1, 2018?
The 2-octallion ton ball of plasma that we cutely call "the sun" is constantly seething. With some regularity, the sun "flares." Per NASA:
A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events. They are seen as bright areas on the sun and they can last from minutes to hours.
As you might expect, not all flares are created equal. Scientists clasify them according to intensity. Per convention, the smallest flare class is "A"; then we have "B" and "C"; for some reason, we skip to "M"; and, lastly, we finish with the fearsome "X", which, among other things, can knock out radio communications around the world.
X-Class flares are the rarest. And they can be dangerous to Earthlings and our technology, especially if the flare's business end points right at us. Here's a description of a mega flare (technically, an X28 on the scale) that blasted forth from the sun in November, 2003:
The effects on Earth were many: Radio blackouts disrupted communications. Solar protons penetrated Earth's upper atmosphere, exposing astronauts and some air travelers to radiation doses equal to a medical chest X-ray. Auroras appeared all over the world--in Florida, Texas, Australia and many other places where they are seldom seen.
X-Class flares are uncommon, but not that uncommon. Last September, for instance, saw a spate of them.
What do you think? Will the sun blast off another X-Class flare before October 1, 2018? (For a positive resolution, SpaceWeatherLive site must report the flare as X-class.
Metaculus help: Predicting
Predictions are the heart of Metaculus. Predicting is how you contribute to the wisdom of the crowd, and how you earn points and build up your personal Metaculus track record.
The basics of predicting are very simple: move the slider to best match the likelihood of the outcome, and click predict. You can predict as often as you want, and you're encouraged to change your mind when new information becomes available.
The displayed score is split into current points and total points. Current points show how much your prediction is worth now, whereas total points show the combined worth of all of your predictions over the lifetime of the question. The scoring details are available on the FAQ.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. All of your predictions came after the resolution, so you did not gain (or lose) any points for it.
Note: this question resolved before its original close time. You earned points up until the question resolution, but not afterwards.
This question is not yet open for predictions.
Metaculus help: Community Stats
Use the community stats to get a better sense of the community consensus (or lack thereof) for this question. Sometimes people have wildly different ideas about the likely outcomes, and sometimes people are in close agreement. There are even times when the community seems very certain of uncertainty, like when everyone agrees that event is only 50% likely to happen.
When you make a prediction, check the community stats to see where you land. If your prediction is an outlier, might there be something you're overlooking that others have seen? Or do you have special insight that others are lacking? Either way, it might be a good idea to join the discussion in the comments.