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NASA Releases Images of January Solar Flare
January 7, 2014

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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 at http://spaceweather.gov, 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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Related Links

  › Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Space Weather
  › View Other Past Solar Activity

Karen C. Fox
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

M7.2-class solar flare on Jan. 7, 2014.
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.
Image Credit: 
NASA/SDO
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Two images of the Jan 7, 2014 M7.2 flare combined
Two images of the sun from NASA's SDO are combined: The large sunspot near the center of the sun is part of an active region that produced a mid-strength solar flare on Jan. 7, 2014. An outline of the flare can be seen in the overlay. The sunspot group is some seven Earth's across.
Image Credit: 
NASA/SDO
Image Token: 
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Page Last Updated: January 21st, 2014
Page Editor: Lynn Jenner