NASA reveals the moment a powerful solar flare erupted from the sun

The stunning moment as a powerful solar flare erupted from the sun earlier this week was captured by NASA.

The space agency’s Solar Dynamics Observatory spotted the super-hot stream of radiation as it was being ejected from our star on Wednesday.

According to a NASA blog entrythe explosion burst in the strongest class of flares our Sun is capable of, an X-class, which snaps at X1.3.

It poses no threat to Earth as it was fired in a different direction, but if it had hit our planet it could have knocked out power grids and satellites.

“Solar flares are powerful bursts of energy,” NASA wrote.

“Eruptions and solar flares can affect radio communications, power grids, and navigation signals, and pose a risk to spacecraft and astronauts.”

The hot material flow is the result of a Frenzy of solar storms erupted from the sun this week.

A total of 17 were spotted by NASA observatories exploding from the star on Monday, and at least two were fired toward Earth.

When CMEs reach Earth, they unleash what is known as a geomagnetic storm — a largely harmless disturbance of the magnetic field.

Luckily, the flares fired in our direction were low-intensity, which posed no threat to technology on Earth.

The March 30 eruption, pictured by NASA, could have wreaked havoc if it happened that way.

“This flare is classified as an X-class flare,” NASA wrote. That was an X1.3.

NASA continued, “X class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about their strength.

“An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.”

Data on this week’s CMEs were collected from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and Solar and Heliospheric Observatory.

A powerful X-class solar flare as it erupted from the sun on March 30th.
A powerful X-class solar flare as it erupted from the sun on March 30th.
NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory

They are the result of an unusually active sunspot, dark and violent regions appearing due to a tangle of powerful magnetic forces.

The storms have resulted in Northern Lights being seen at unusually low latitudes in Europe and North America.

Solar storms are caused by CMEs and solar flares, which are giant ejections of hot material called plasma from the Sun’s outer layer.

They can cause the appearance of colorful auroras by energizing particles in our planet’s atmosphere.

Each solar storm is graded by severity on a scale of 1 to 5, with G1 denoting “minor” and G5 denoting “extreme.”

Storms at the higher end of the scale devastate our planet’s magnetic field, which can disrupt power grids and communication networks.

“Harmful radiation from a flare cannot penetrate Earth’s atmosphere and physically affect people on the ground,” NASA says.

“However – if they are intense enough – they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communication signals propagate.”

In the past, major solar flares wreaked havoc on our planet.

In 1989, a powerful solar flare shot down so many electrically charged particles that the Canadian province of Quebec was without electricity for nine hours.

Not only can they cause problems for our technology, but they can also harm astronauts working on the International Space Station, either by exposing them to radiation or by interfering with mission control communications.

The Earth’s magnetic field helps protect us from the more extreme effects of solar flares.

This story originally appeared on the sun and is reproduced here with permission. NASA reveals the moment a powerful solar flare erupted from the sun


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