The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 6:07 a.m. EDT on May 8, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, captured images of it. 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 M5.2-class flare. M class flares are on the order of a tenth as strong as the most intense flares, the X-class flares.
Updates will be provided as needed.
What is a solar flare and what is M-class?
For answers to these and other space weather questions, please visit the Spaceweather Frequently Asked Questions page: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sunearth/spaceweather/index.html
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