On Saturday afternoon, the Earth-orbiting observatory captured photos of a giant blast of ultraviolet light and solar radiation erupting from the sun's surface. Today, NASA released the impressive photos.
The flare has been classified an X-class flare, the most intense category of solar flares. Specifically, this particular solar eruption is measured as X1 (the one standing for the lowest intensity version of an X-class flare), whereas an X2 would be twice as intense, an X3 three times as strong, and so on.
While humans are mostly protected from the radiation of solar flares by Earth's atmosphere, especially strong flares can disrupt GPS and other satellite-reliant information systems.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory launched in 2010 as part of the Living With a Star program, an effort to better understand the relationship between the sun and Earth.