Sun Unleashes Intense X-Class Solar Flare, With More Expected

Photo: NASA/SDO (Fair Use)

A powerful solar flare exploded on the surface of the sun late Thursday from a complex sunspot that could, quite literally, flare up again very soon. 

The blast of charged particles was recorded as an X1.2-class flare. X flares are the most powerful category of flares, and can cause geomagnetic storms to affect Earth’s magnetic field with the potential to damage satellites, communications equipment and even the power grid. 

An X1 flare like this one, though, is at the low end of the X-scale. Thus, no immediate damage from the blast itself has been reported just yet, with the exception of a short-wave radio blackout over parts of Australia and the South Pacific. 

This blackout was the result of the solar flare’s energized blast traveling at the speed of light toward our planet, reaching Earth in a mere eight minutes. Still, it was brief.