NASA records huge solar flares

NASA described both of this morning's flares as "significant," with the first being one of the biggest this year.
By Brooks Hays   |   June 10, 2014 at 5:55 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, June 10 (UPI) -- It hardly seems like there's anything that happens in space that NASA doesn't have its eye on. Solar flares are no different, as once again, NASA satellites have captured impressive imagery of two giant eruptions of gas from the sun's surface.

The solar fireworks went off early Tuesday morning, and were recorded by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, the agency's satellite dedicated to constantly monitoring the sun.

Both of the eruptions were classified as X flares, the biggest and brightest category. M-class flares are medium-sized while C-class flares are the smallest variety. The first of the two flares was measured as an X2.2, and the second was an X1.5 -- the numbers a reflection of their relative intensity.

Although solar flares release an intense burst of radioactivity into space, the waves cannot penetrate Earth's atmosphere and harm humans. They can, however, momentarily disrupt GPS and communication satellites.

So far, NASA observatories have captured a total of seven solar flares on film in 2014. The agency described both of this morning's flares as "significant," with the first being one of the biggest this year. Only February's X4.9 flare was bigger.

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