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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory Captured Trio of Solar Flares

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Posted April 4, 2017

The sun emitted a trio of mid-level solar flares on April 2-3, 2017. The first peaked at 4:02 a.m. EDT on April 2, the second peaked at 4:33 p.m. EDT on April 2, and the third peaked at 10:29 a.m. EDT on April 3. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured images of the three events. 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.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare peaking at 4:02 a.m. EDT on April 2, 2017, as seen in the bright flash near the sun’s upper right edge. The image shows a subset of extreme ultraviolet light that highlights the extremely hot material in flares and which is typically colorized in blue.
Credits: NASA/SDO

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare peaking at 4:33 p.m. EDT on April 2, 2017, as seen in the bright flash near the sun’s upper right edge. The image shows a subset of extreme ultraviolet light that highlights the extremely hot material in flares and which is typically colorized in blue.
Credits: NASA/SDO

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare peaking at 10:29 a.m. EDT on April 3, 2017, as seen in the bright flash near the sun’s upper right edge. The image shows a subset of extreme ultraviolet light that highlights the extremely hot material in flares and which is typically colorized in teal.
Credits: NASA/SDO

To see how this event may affect Earth, please visit NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center at https://spaceweather.gov, the U.S. government’s official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.

The first April 2 flare was classified as an M5.3 flare, while the second April 2 was an M5.7 flare. The April 3 flare was classified as an M5.8 flare. M-class flares are a tenth the size of the most intense flares, the X-class flares. The number provides more information about its strength. An M2 is twice as intense as an M1, an M3 is three times as intense, etc.

Source: NASA

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