April 3, 2014
NASA Releases Image Of M-class Solar Flare
Karen C. Fox, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
On April 2, 2014, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 10:05 a.m. EDT, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured imagery of the event. 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 M6.5 flare. M-class flares are ten times less powerful than the most intense flares, which are labeled X-class. The number after the M provides more information about its strength. An M2 is twice as intense as an M1, an M3 is three times as intense, etc.
Updates will be provided as needed.