Public Release: 

Sun emits a mid-level flare on Dec. 4, 2014

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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IMAGE: The sun emitted a solar flare on Dec. 4, 2014, seen as the flash of light in this image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. The image blends two wavelengths of... view more

Credit: NASA/SDO

On Dec. 4, 2014, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 1:25 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. 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 affect 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 M6.1-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.

Updates will be provided as needed.

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What is a solar flare?

For answers to this 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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