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Close One! X-Class Solar Flare Causes Radio Blackouts

This extreme ultraviolet image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows the flash of a solar flare emanating from Active Region 2205 on Friday. Solar scientists said the flare peaked at 12:26 p.m. ET. NASA / SDO / LMSAL

The sun unleashed a strong X1-class solar flare on Friday, causing a short-lived degradation in high-frequency radio communications for some parts of the world, space weather forecasters said.

X-class flares have the potential to disrupt satellite communication and affect electrical power grids. However, the solar outburst associated with Friday's event was "not particularly fast, nor headed directly at Earth," the National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center reported. The likeliest effect of the outburst, also known as a coronal mass ejection or CME, would be heightened auroral displays over the next few days.

Keep an eye on SpaceWeather.com's real-time aurora gallery for night-sky snapshots.