SDO Image of a Solar Flare on 24 August 2014
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.
Image Credit: NASA/SDO Larger image