Giant solar flare captivates in HD
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has captured high-definition images and video of a dramatic solar flare not aimed at Earth.
NASA has released images and a video of a solar prominence, a giant arch of super-hot gases bursting off the sun's surface.
The prominence, shot on 16 April from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory telescope, is associated with a solar flare — a brightening on the sun's surface that often occurs when a piece of the sun's atmosphere breaks off from the sun.
In this case, the medium-sized solar flare was off the east side of the sun. It is not directed toward Earth. As such, it doesn't threaten to disrupt satellites or air travel, as other solar flares have.
The sun is entering a period of high activity, which means that the chances of a coronal mass ejection are higher. These bursts of high-energy matter and magnetic waves break off from the sun, and, when directed towards Earth, can interact with Earth's magnetic field.
That causes the auroras borealis at the poles, and, if the conditions are right, could impact satellite communications, air travel and the power grid.
The event is still in progress.