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NASA shares stunning photo of massive X1 solar flares on the Sun

Updated Oct 17th, 2022 11:12AM EDT
A big sun surface with solar flares.
Image: joelia / Adobe

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The Sun is a powerful star. As the center of our solar system, it’s hard to ignore the massive ball of energy responsible for delivering light and heat to our planet. To showcase the true power of the Sun, though, NASA recently shared a new solar flare image that captures a flare seen in early October.

This isn’t the first time that we’ve gotten a good look at a solar flare. Plenty of astrophotographers have managed to snap some great images and videos of the Sun throwing a tantrum. And, with so many spacecraft and observatories focused on the Sun, NASA is able to capture some fantastic solar flare images.

NASA shared this latest solar flare image on Instagram. In the post, NASA says that the flare was captured by the Solar Dynamic Observatory. The flare was captured by the SDO on October 2 of 2022. In addition to sharing the image, NASA also shared a little bit about how these flares can impact the Earth and how the agency classifies them.

The flare showcased in this most recent NASA solar flare image is what they call an X1 flare. The X-class rating shows that the flare is one of the most intense flares that the Sun releases. Because the Sun is currently ramping up to the peak of its 11-year cycle, it’s likely we’ll see more and more of these kinds of flares. Because it’s only rated as an X1 it’s the lowest power of the X-class flares.

But that doesn’t mean that this solar flare is completely harmless. As NASA points out, the energy from solar flares can’t reach the surface of the Earth, because it can’t pass through the atmosphere. However, when that energy clashes with Earth’s atmosphere, it can cause issues with GPS and communication signals.

Thankfully, this isn’t the most powerful solar flare the Sun has released this year or even in the past five years. But, it was still very powerful, and the image of the solar flare that NASA captured is absolutely breathtaking.

More coverage: Wonder what advertisements in space would look like?

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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