Feedback
News

A Flare With Flair: NASA Captures the Sun’s Show

Image: First moments of a Solar flare in different wavelengths of light

A handout picture dated 24 February 2014 and made available by the European Space Agency (ESA) on 25 February 2014 showing the sun emitting a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:49 p.m. EST. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which keeps a constant watch on the sun, captured images of the event. These SDO images from 7:25 p.m. EST on Feb. 24 show the first moments of this X-class flare in different wavelengths of light -- seen as the bright spot that appears on the left limb of the sun. Hot solar material can be seen hovering above the active region in the sun's atmosphere, the corona. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation, appearing as giant flashes of light in the SDO images. 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. NASA / SDO / EPA

The sun emits a significant solar flare on Feb. 24. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which keeps a constant watch on the sun, captured images of the event. These SDO images from 7:25 p.m. EST on Feb. 24 show the first moments of this X-class flare in different wavelengths of light -- seen as the bright spot that appears on the left limb of the sun. Hot solar material can be seen hovering above the active region in the sun's atmosphere, the corona. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation, appearing as giant flashes of light in the SDO images. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically impact humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- it can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. Editor's note: Image received on Feb. 25.

Read more about the solar flare from NBCNews.com's Alan Boyle.