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Sun Emits Fourth X-class Flare in a Week
October 30, 2013

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The sun emitted a significant solar flare – its fourth X-class flare since Oct. 23, 2013 -- peaking at 5:54 p.m. on Oct. 29, 2013. 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 disrupts the radio signals for as long as the flare is ongoing, anywhere from minutes to hours.

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 X2.3 class flare. "X-class" denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.

Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun's normal 11-year activity cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum conditions. Humans have tracked this solar cycle continuously since it was discovered in 1843, and it is normal for there to be many flares a day during the sun's peak activity.

Updates will be provided as needed.

Related Links

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

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

The sun emitted a significant solar flare – its fourth X-class flare since Oct. 23, 2013 -- peaking at 5:54 p.m. on Oct. 29, 2013. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the flare in this image, which shows light in wavelengths of both 304 and193 Angstroms.
Image Credit: 
NASA/SDO
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Page Last Updated: October 30th, 2013
Page Editor: Holly Zell