Spaceweather.com is reporting that returning sunspot AR1990 (previously AR1967) unleashed a powerful X5-class solar flare on February 25, 2014. The flare happened at 0050 UTC on February 25, 2014 (6:50 p.m. CST on February 24).
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured these images of the first moments of the solar flare in different wavelengths of light.
The site of the flare is near the southeastern limb of the sun as seen from Earth. The flare was not released in Earth’s direction, and strong geomagnetic storms are not expected. According to Spaceweather.com:
This is the most intense flare of 2014 so far, and one of the most intense of the current solar cycle.
This is the third time this sunspot region has rotated on the sun’s surface into the view from Earth.
Bottom line: The sun unleashed the most intense category of solar flare – a X-flare – on February 25 at 0057 UTC.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and 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.