An X1.6 class solar flare flashes in the middle of the sun on Sept. 10, 2014. This image was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, which is typically colorized in teal. Credit: NASA/SDO

The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 1:48 p.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2014. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event.

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.

To see how this event may affect Earth, please visit NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center at http://spaceweather.gov, the U.S. government's official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.

This flare is classified as an X1.6 class flare. "X-class" denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.