NASA released a beautiful video of a solar flare that erupted last week.
A mid-level solar flare erupted on April 2, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has released a spectacular video showing it in action. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation emanating from the Sun. The Earth's atmosphere protects us from them, but these events can still be intense enough to disrupt GPS and communications signals.
The flare, classified as an M6.5, peaked at 10:05 a.m. EDT, and the video shows the event recorded at two different wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light. The false-color images depict these wavelengths as red and yellow in the video.
Solar flare classification ascribes a letter and a number to every event. In increasing order, flares can fall under the A, B, C, M, or X category, with X being the most powerful events ever observed. The number that follows the letter denotes increasing strength as well, with an M2 being twice as powerful as an M1, an M3 being three times as powerful as an M1, etc. It is theorized that an extreme solar flare in 1859, known as the Carrington Event, could have been well over X40. The event caused telegraph systems all over Europe and North America to fail, throw sparks, and even give some operators electric shocks.