Breaking News Emails
The sun unleashed its most intense flare of the year on Tuesday, a monstrous blast that caused temporary radio blackouts throughout the Pacific region.
The X-class solar flare — the most powerful category of sun storm — erupted from a sunspot called Active Region 2339, peaking at 6:11 p.m. ET. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captured a gorgeous video of the solar flare, recording it in multiple wavelengths of light.
Despite the radio blackouts, the blast is unlikely to cause major issues here on Earth, researchers said.
"Given the impulsive nature of this event, as well as the source location on the eastern limb of the sun, we are not expecting a radiation storm at Earth," scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center wrote in an update Tuesday evening.
Wednesday's outburst clocked in at X2.7, outranking the previous flare champion of 2015 — an X2.2 storm that erupted March 11 from a sunspot known as AR12297.
The space weather forecasters said more solar storms could be coming soon. "We are expecting several active regions to be rotating onto the visible disk later this week and into the weekend," they wrote in the update.