Sun unleashes intense solar flare, still weaker than the strongest

Posted at 3:17 PM, Mar 14, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-14 15:17:41-04

NASA scientists are keeping a close eye on the sun, this after it unleashed an intense solar flare Wednesday, March 12.

Solar flares are sudden, powerful bursts of radiation from the sun’s surface.  Around 6:38 p.m. Wednesday afternoon, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the mid-level flare emitted by a magnetically strong, active region right on the edge of the sun. Scientists call this region AR 11996.

Scientists classified the flare as an M9.3-class, just slightly weaker than the most intense flares.  In fact, those flares are labeled X-class.

Since the flare, NASA has been watching a stream of solar particles associated with the flare to see whether or not they will intersect with Earth’s atmosphere to amplify northern lights displays at the poles, according to

While Wednesday’s solar flare is not the most intense, X-class flares can disrupt satellite communications, like GPS, and power networks.

To check out the solar flare, click here:

Sources:, Solar Dynamics Observatory,