NASA captures two solar flares within days of each other


NASA's colorised image of a solar flare classified an M7.9-class flare on 5 November.
NASA/SDO

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured the image above of an active region on the Sun as it emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:00 am UTC on 5 November.

It is the second mid-level flare from the same active region, labeled AR 12205, which rotated over the left limb of the sun on 3 November. The image was captured by in extreme ultraviolet light that was coloured in red and gold.

This flare is classified as an M7.9-class flare. M-class flares are a tenth the size of the most intense flares, the X-class flares. The number provides more information about its strength. An M2 is twice as intense as an M1, an M3 is three times as intense, etc.

If intense enough, the powerful radiation of solar flares can disturb Earth's atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. The atmosphere, however, will not allow through radiation harmful to life on the surface.

More on NASA's SDO mission here.

  1. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sdo/main/index.html#.VFv50RYXH7N
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