NASA Captures Images of a Late Summer Flare

By  //  August 26, 2014

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can disturb GPS, Communications signals

A bright solar flare can be seen on the left side of the sun in this image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on Aug. 24, 2014. (NASA.gov image)

A bright solar flare can be seen on the left side of the sun in this image captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory on Aug. 24, 2014. (NASA.gov image)

On Sunday, 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.

This close-up of a moderate flare on Aug. 24, 2014, shows light in the 131 and 171 Angstrom wavelengths. The former wavelength, usually colorized in teal, highlights the extremely hot material of a flare. The latter, usually colorized in gold, highlights magnet loops in the sun's atmosphere. (NASA.gov image)

This close-up of a moderate flare on Aug. 24, 2014, shows light in the 131 and 171 Angstrom wavelengths. (NASA.gov image)

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.


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