NASA/SDO

WATCH: NASA Footage of The Biggest Solar Flare This Year

It's the equivalent of millions of 100-megaton atomic bombs exploding at once.

FIONA MACDONALD
16 MAR 2015
 

An X-class solar flare, the biggest so far in 2015, erupted from the Sun last Wednesday, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has captured this incredible footage of the event.  

 

As you can see above, the flare itself isn't that impressive (until you look at the top image and realise that the Sun spot it's blasting out of is many times larger than Earth). But the coronal mass ejection of solar material that's emitted afterwards is pretty outstanding.

X-class solar flares are the strongest category of solar flare and range from X1 (the weakest) all the way to X28 (the strongest), and this flare ranked an X2.2. This means it emitted so much radiation that geomagnetic storms have been predicted on Earth early this week. These storms can trigger blackouts and communication interruptions as they affect satellites and disturb the layer of the atmosphere that GPS and communication signals travel through.

But, don't worry, solar flares' radiation can't hurt people on Earth, as we're protected by Earth's atmosphere. And, if they hit the planet on the poles, solar flares like this one can create some incredible aurorae.

Watch the footage above and be humbled by just how powerful our Sun is, and how tiny we really are in the grand scale of things. You can find out more about how the event will affect Earth and any blackout warnings here.

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