As the video above shows, the sun has been active this month! There were X-flares on the sun earlier in September, and the same Active Region on the sun – AR2673 – again emitted an X-flare on September 10, 2017, just as it was rotating out of our earthly view due to the sun’s spin on its axis.
The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 12:06 p.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2017 (16:06 UTC). NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. 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.
To see how this event may affect Earth, visit NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center at spaceweather.gov.
This flare is classified as an X8.2-class flare. NASA said:
X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.
This flare is the capstone on a series of flares from Active Region 2673, which was identified on Aug. 29 and is currently rotating off the front of the sun as part of our star’s normal rotation.
Bottom line: A video of solar flares so far in September 2017 and images of the X8.2-class flare on September 10, 2017. Active Region 2673, which produced the X-flares, has now rotated out of our view.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.