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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 13:20 EDT

Sun Emits Mid Level Solar Flare Jan. 7, 2014

January 7, 2014
Image Caption: NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which captures an image of the sun every 1.5 seconds, shows a mid-level solar flare at the center of the sun on Jan. 7, 2014. Credit: NASA/SDO

NASA

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 5:13 a.m. EST on Jan. 7, 2014. Images of the flare were captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and showed that it came from an active region on the sun that currently sports one of the largest sunspots seen in the last 10 years. Sunspots are regions of strong and complex magnetic fields on the sun’s surface.

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 impact Earth, please visit NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, the U.S. government’s official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.

This flare is classified as an M7.2-class flare.

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Source: NASA