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.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observer captured this image of an X3.3-class solar flare that peaked at 5:12 p.m. EST on Nov. 5, 2013. This image shows light blended from the 131 and 193 wavelengths.
Image Credit: NASA/SDO
To see how this event may impact Earth, please visit NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center at http://spaceweather.gov, the U.S. government's official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.
This flare is classified as an X3.3 flare. X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.
Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment as the sun's normal 11-year activity cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum conditions.
Updates will be provided as needed.Karen C. Fox
Karen C. Fox | EurekAlert!
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