- The Sun emitted a massive solar flare on Tuesday
- It also emitted X-class solar flares on Monday and January 5.
- The Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the events
The Sun emitted another X-class solar flare, and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured the stunning moment.
The Sun emitted a solar flare that peaked at 5:47 p.m. ET on Tuesday, NASA announced in a press release. It was a massive event, classified by the agency as an X1.0 eruption, and the SDO’s “unblinking eye” captured the moment of the eruption.
The agency shared footage from the event on Twitter. In the GIF, the bright flash from the recent solar flare can be seen on the upper left side of the Sun.
This solar flare occurred about 24 hours after another, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
The previous one was an X1.9 eruption at 1:50 p.m. ET on Monday. It originated from the Point Complex in Area 3184, which was also “likely” responsible for another X-class (X1.2) eruption on Jan. 5, the SWPC noted. The most recent eruption, on the other hand, was from the 3186 region.
That’s three massive X-class solar flares just days into the new year. NASA also shared stunning images of the X-class solar flare that occurred on Monday and January 5.
Both images were captured by the SDO.
Class X flares are considered the “most intense” flares, with the numbers giving additional information about their strength.
The strongest solar flare observed was a X28+ flare in 2003 that was so strong that the sensors measuring it were overloaded and cut off measurements at X28.
“The largest X-class flares are by far the largest outbursts in the solar system and are awe-inspiring to watch,” NASA noted.
Indeed, as the SDO images above show, they can be quite fascinating. And it’s possible more will follow as larger active regions “appear” over the course of the week, according to Space.com.
But why do scientists keep tabs on solar flares?
If directed at our planet, these events and the coronal mass ejections (CMEs) associated with them can cause “long-duration radiation storms” that can impact various systems such as satellites, systems communications and even electrical networks. They can also pose risks to astronauts.
“NASA operates as a research arm of the national space weather effort,” the agency noted. “NASA is constantly observing the Sun and our space environment with a fleet of spacecraft studying everything from the Sun’s activity and the solar atmosphere to particles and magnetic fields in space surrounding Earth. “