Solar Dynamics Observatory captures images of a late summer flare
On Aug. 24, 2014, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 8:16 a.m. EDT.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the flare, which erupted on the left side of the sun.
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.
This flare is classified as an M5 flare. M-class flares are ten times less powerful than the most intense flares, called X-class flares.