Powerful X-Class Solar Flare Erupts From Sun – Captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory

Sun Emits X1.2 Flare January 2023 Close

An X1.2 class solar flare flashes on the left edge of the Sun on January 5, 2023. This image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows a blend of light from the 171 and 304 angstrom wavelengths. Cropped version. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

The Sun emitted a strong solar flare, peaking at 7:57 p.m. EDT on January 5, 2023. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), which watches the Sun constantly, captured imagery of the event.

X1.2 Solar Flare January 2023

An X1.2 class solar flare flashes on the left side of the Sun on January 5, 2023. This animated gif was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows a blend of light from the 171 and 131 angstrom wavelengths. Cropped version. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

Solar flares are powerful bursts of energy. Flares and solar eruptions can impact radio communications, electric power grids, and navigation signals, and pose risks to spacecraft and astronauts.

X1.2 Solar Flare January 2023

An X1.2 class solar flare flashes on the left edge of the Sun on January 5, 2023. This image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows a blend of light from the 171 and 131 angstrom wavelengths. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

This flare is classified as an X1.2 flare. An X-class solar flare is the most powerful type of solar flare, and it is classified based on the peak flux (in watts per square meter, W/m2) of X-rays emitted by the flare. X-class flares are further divided into subclasses, with X1 being the weakest and X9 being the strongest.

Sun Emits X1.2 Flare January 2023

An X1.2 class solar flare flashes on the left edge of the Sun on January 5, 2023. This image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows a blend of light from the 171 and 304 angstrom wavelengths. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

An X1.2 solar flare is a solar flare that falls into the X1 class, but is slightly stronger than an average X1 flare. Specifically, an X1.2 solar flare has a peak flux of 1.2 x 10-4 W/m2. This is still a very powerful event, and it can cause significant disruptions to radio communications and GPS signals on Earth. It can also produce a significant amount of solar energetic particles (SEPs), which can pose a hazard to spacecraft and astronauts in space.

X1.2 Solar Flare January 2023 Close Up

An X1.2 class solar flare flashes on the left edge of the Sun on January 5, 2023. This image was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows a blend of light from the 171 and 131 angstrom wavelengths. Cropped version. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory is a spacecraft launched by NASA in 2010 to study the Sun and its influence on Earth. It is part of NASA’s Living with a Star (LWS) program, which seeks to understand the causes of solar variability and its impacts on Earth. The SDO spacecraft is equipped with a suite of instruments that allow it to observe the Sun in multiple wavelengths of light, including ultraviolet, visible, and extreme ultraviolet. The data collected by the SDO is used to improve our understanding of the Sun’s magnetic field, its solar wind, and how the Sun’s activity affects Earth’s climate and environment.

Sun Emits X1.2 Flare January 2023

An X1.2 class solar flare flashes on the left side of the Sun on January 5, 2023. This animated gif was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows a blend of light from the 171 and 131 angstrom wavelengths. Credit: NASA/GSFC/SDO

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