Solar Dynamics Observatory captured trio of solar flares April 2-3

April 3, 2017, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare peaking at 4:33 p.m. EDT on April 2, 2017, as seen in the bright flash near the sun's upper right edge. The image shows a subset of extreme ultraviolet light that highlights the extremely hot material in flares and which is typically colorized in blue. Credit: NASA/SDO

The sun emitted a trio of mid-level solar flares on April 2-3, 2017. The first peaked at 4:02 a.m. EDT on April 2, the second peaked at 4:33 p.m. EDT on April 2, and the third peaked at 10:29 a.m. EDT on April 3. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured images of the three events. 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.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare peaking at 4:02 a.m. EDT on April 2, 2017, as seen in the bright flash near the sun's upper right edge. The image shows a subset of extreme ultraviolet light that highlights the extremely hot material in flares and which is typically colorized in blue. Credit: NASA/SDO

The first April 2 flare was classified as an M5.3 flare, while the second April 2 was an M5.7 flare. The April 3 flare was classified as an M5.8 flare. M-class flares are a tenth the size of the most intense flares, the X-class flares. The number provides more information about its strength. An M2 is twice as intense as an M1, an M3 is three times as intense, etc.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare peaking at 10:29 a.m. EDT on April 3, 2017, as seen in the bright flash near the sun's upper right edge. The image shows a subset of extreme ultraviolet light that highlights the extremely hot material in flares and which is typically colorized in teal. Credit: NASA/SDO

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