Headlines > News > NASA Releases Images of January Solar Flare

NASA Releases Images of January Solar Flare

Published by Klaus Schmidt on Tue Jan 7, 2014 4:50 pm via: NASA
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The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 5:13 a.m. EST on Jan. 7, 2014. Images of the flare were captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and showed that it came from an active region on the sun that currently sports one of the largest sunspots seen in the last 10 years. Sunspots are regions of strong and complex magnetic fields on the sun’s surface.

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 Observatory, which captures an image of the sun every 12 seconds, shows a mid-level solar flare at the center of the sun on Jan. 7, 2014.  Image Credit: NASA/SDO

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which captures an image of the sun every 12 seconds, shows a mid-level solar flare at the center of the sun on Jan. 7, 2014. Image Credit: NASA/SDO

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

This flare is classified as an M7.2-class flare.

Two images of the sun from NASA's SDO are combined: The large sunspot near the center of the sun is part of an active region that produced a mid-strength solar flare on Jan. 7, 2014. An outline of the flare can be seen in the overlay. The sunspot group is some seven Earth's across.  Image Credit: NASA/SDO

Two images of the sun from NASA's SDO are combined: The large sunspot near the center of the sun is part of an active region that produced a mid-strength solar flare on Jan. 7, 2014. An outline of the flare can be seen in the overlay. The sunspot group is some seven Earth's across. Image Credit: NASA/SDO

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