The Sun Lets Loose Its Biggest Flare of the Year (So Far)

The Atlantic

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The sun captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in wavelengths of 131 and 171 Angstroms. Click to expand. (NASA)

This morning at 3:16 AM Eastern time a spot on the sun emitted its strongest flare of the year so far, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught this image of it.

The flare was classified as an M6.5, not the most massive (those are X-class), but large enough that it caused a "moderate" radio blackout (level R2) that, according to NASA, "has since subsided." The Earth's atmosphere protects humans and other life on the planet from the radiation that solar flares emit. 

Close-up view:

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The sun captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory in wavelengths of 131 and 171 Angstroms. Click to expand. (NASA)



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