Sun emits a medium-intensity solar flare

July 31, 2012 By Karen C. Fox

( -- The sun emitted a mid-level flare, peaking at 4:55 PM EDT on July 28, 2012.

are powerful bursts of radiation. from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. This disrupts the radio signals for as long as the flare is ongoing, anywhere from minutes to hours.

This flare is classified as an M6.2 flare. M- are the weakest flares that can still cause some space weather effects near Earth. They can cause brief radio blackouts at the poles.

Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun's normal 11-year activity cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum, which is expected in 2013.

Updates will be provided as needed.

What is a solar flare? What is a ?

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

Explore further: Solar flares: What does it take to be X-class?

Related Stories

Solar flares: What does it take to be X-class?

August 10, 2011

Solar flares are giant explosions on the sun that send energy, light and high speed particles into space. These flares are often associated with solar magnetic storms known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The number of ...

An X1.4 Solar Flare and a CME

September 23, 2011

( -- A large coronal mass ejection (CME) shot off the West (right) side of the sun at 6:24 PM ET on September 21, 2011. The CME is moving away from Earth at about 900 miles per second.

Sun releases a powerful X5 flare

March 7, 2012

Active Region 1429 unleashed an X5.4-class solar flare early this morning at 00:28 UT, as seen in this image by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (AIA 304). The eruption belched out a large coronal mass ejection (CME) ...

Space Image: Sunspots and solar flares

March 21, 2012

( -- NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this image of an M7.9 class flare on March 13, 2012 at 1:29 p.m. EDT. It is shown here in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a wavelength particularly good for seeing ...

Another M-class flare from Sunspot 1515

July 5, 2012

Active Region 1515 has now spit out 12 M-class flares since July 3. Early in the morning of July 5, 2012 there was an M6.1 flare. It peaked at 7:44 AM EDT. This caused a moderate – classified as R2 on the National Oceanic ...

NASA sees Sun send out mid-level solar flare

July 19, 2012

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare on July 19, 2012, beginning at 1:13 AM EDT and peaking at 1:58 AM. Solar flares are gigantic bursts of radiation that cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to harm humans on the ground, ...

Recommended for you

Earth might have hairy dark matter

November 23, 2015

The solar system might be a lot hairier than we thought. A new study publishing this week in the Astrophysical Journal by Gary Prézeau of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, proposes the existence of ...

Scientists detect stellar streams around Magellanic Clouds

November 23, 2015

(—Astronomers from the University of Cambridge, U.K., have detected a number of narrow streams and diffuse debris clouds around two nearby irregular dwarf galaxies called the Magellanic Clouds. The research also ...

The hottest white dwarf in the Galaxy

November 25, 2015

Astronomers at the Universities of Tübingen and Potsdam have identified the hottest white dwarf ever discovered in our Galaxy. With a temperature of 250,000 degrees Celsius, this dying star at the outskirts of the Milky ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.