By Karen C. Fox, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center,
January 14, 2015
An M-class solar flare erupts from the right side of the sun in this image from shortly before midnight EST on January 12, 2015. The image blends two wavelengths of light – 171 and 304 angstroms – as captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Credit: NASA/SDO
The first significant solar flare of 2015 was spotted by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 11:24 p.m. EST on January 12, 2015. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. 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.
Giant magnetic loops dance on the sun’s horizon in concert with the eruption of a solar flare – seen as a bright flash of light – in this imagery from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, captured January 12-13, 2015. Credit: NASA/SDO
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