Emerging sunspot releases mid-level solar flare

Aug 20, 2012 By Karen C. Fox
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this image of an M-class flare on August 17, 2012, at 9:01 PM EDT. The flare, seen on the left (or east) side of the sun from an active region that has not yet been named, and is just rotating into view. The image is colorized in teal, which is typical for showing light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength -- a wavelength particularly good for viewing solar flares. Credit: NASA/SDO

(Phys.org) -- On August 17, the sun emitted a mid-level flare, peaking at 9:02 PM EDT. Solar flares are gigantic bursts of radiation that cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to harm humans on the ground, however when strong enough they can disrupt GPS and communications signals.

The flare is classified as an M5.6 class flare. M- can cause brief at the poles and minor radiation storms that might endanger astronauts.

What is a solar flare?

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

Explore further: NASA spacecraft nears historic dwarf planet arrival

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NASA sees Sun send out mid-level solar flare

Jul 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 ...

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

Aug 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). ...

An X1.4 Solar Flare and a CME

Sep 23, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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.

The Sun blasts out an X1-Class solar flare

Jul 09, 2012

An active region on the Sun, AR1515, has been putting on quite a show over the last 8 days, sending out all sorts of solar flares. Scientists were sure the huge sunspot was building up to produce an X-class ...

Space Image: Sunspots and solar flares

Mar 21, 2012

(PhysOrg.com) -- 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 ...

Recommended for you

Why don't we search for different life?

57 minutes ago

If we really want to find life on other worlds, why do we keep looking for life based on carbon and water? Why don't we look for the stuff that's really different?

OSIRIS catches glimpse of Rosetta's shadow

1 hour ago

Several days after Rosetta's close flyby of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on 14 February 2015, images taken on this day by OSIRIS, the scientific imaging system on board, have now been downlinked to Earth. ...

Kamikaze comet loses its head

2 hours ago

Like coins, most comet have both heads and tails. Occasionally, during a close passage of the Sun, a comet's head will be greatly diminished yet still retain a classic cometary outline. Rarely are we left ...

NASA spacecraft nears historic dwarf planet arrival

20 hours ago

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has returned new images captured on approach to its historic orbit insertion at the dwarf planet Ceres. Dawn will be the first mission to successfully visit a dwarf planet when it enters ...

User comments : 0

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.