NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory Views M-Class Solar Flare

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.

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.

Image Credit: NASA/SDO

AstronomyImagesNASASolar Dynamics ObservatorySolar FlareSun