(AP) -- After years of quiet, the sun is coming alive with solar storms in a big way.
The sun shot off a flare Thursday afternoon from a region that scientists are calling a "benevolent monster."
Scientists at the federal Space Weather Prediction Center say that region is the most active part of the sun since 2005. It has dozens of sunspots, including one that is the size of 17 Earths.
Thursday's flare wasn't aimed at Earth. However, this active region is now slowly turning toward Earth. Scientists say that region will be directly facing Earth in about five days.
Explore further: Image: C3-class solar flare erupts on Sept. 8, 2010