The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 3:01 p.m. EDT on Oct. 2, 2014. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun 24-hours a day, captured images of the flare. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.
This flare is classified as an M7.3 flare. M-class flares are one-tenth as powerful as the most powerful flares, which are designated X-class flares.
Download high res: svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/details.cgi?aid=11670
Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
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