An active region on the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 4:47 a.m. EST on Nov. 5, 2014. This is the second mid-level flare from the same active region, labeled AR 12205, which rotated over the left limb of the sun on Nov. 3. The image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in extreme ultraviolet light that was colorized in red and gold.
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 M7.9-class 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.
Image Credit: NASA/SDO