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Third Substantial Solar Flare in 2 Days


Update, 11:42 a.m. EDT: The sun erupted with another significant flare today, peaking at 10:28 a.m. EDT on Oct. 22, 2014.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event, which occurred in the lower half of the sun. This flare is classified as an X1.6 class flare. X-class flares denote the most extreme flares. This is the third substantial flare from the same region of the sun since Oct. 19.

An X1.6 class flare erupted from the lower half of the sun, as seen in the bright flash of light in this image from NASA's SDO. This image shows extreme ultraviolet light with a wavelength of 131 Angstroms, which highlights the intense heat of a solar flare and which is typically colorized in teal.

Image Credit: NASA/SDO

An active region on the sun erupted with a mid-level flare, an M8.7 class, on Oct. 21, 2014, as seen in the bright light of this image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. This image shows extreme ultraviolet light that highlights the hot solar material in the sun's atmosphere.

Image Credit: NASA/SDO

To see how this event may affect Earth, please visit NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center at, the U.S. government's official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.

Second Substantial Flare in Two Days - First Update: Oct. 22, 2014, 9:45 a.m. EDT

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:59 p.m. EDT on Oct. 21, 2014. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is always observing the sun, captured an image of the event. The same active region previously emitted an X1.1 solar flare on Oct. 19. 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.

To see how this event may affect Earth, please visit NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center at, the U.S. government's official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.

This flare is classified as an M 8.7-class flare.

M-class denotes flares that are a tenth as strong as X-class flares, which are the most intense 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.

Updates will be provided as needed.

What is a solar flare?

For answers to this and other space weather questions, please visit the Spaceweather Frequently Asked Questions page.

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