# NASA satellite snaps pictures of massive solar blast

By Layer 8 on Wed, 06/08/11 - 10:50am.

NASA's sun watching satellite, the Solar Dynamics Observatory got a great shot of a medium-sizd solar flare this week.

NASA said the radiation storm and a spectacular coronal mass ejection (CME) mushroomed up and fell back down looking as if it covered an area of almost half the solar surface.

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From NASA: The SDO observed the flare's peak at 1:41 a.m. EDT.  SDO recorded these images in extreme ultraviolet light that show a very large eruption of cool gas. It is somewhat unique because at many places in the eruption there seems to be even cooler material -- at temperatures less than 80,000 K.

According to NASA the flare, which NASA classified an M-class burst, will hit the Earth's magnetic field during the late hours of June 8th or June 9th but should cause no more that an increase in auroras in the northern night sky.

NASA scientists classify solar flares according to their x-ray brightness in the wavelength range 1 to 8 Angstroms. There are 3 categories: X-class flares are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. M-class flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth's polar regions. Minor radiation storms sometimes follow M-class flares. Compared to X- and M-class, C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences on Earth, NASA stated.

You may recall an X-class burst emanated from the Sun around Valentine's Day this year and caused quite a stir but ultimately caused no problems. X-class flares are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. That X class flare came on the heels of a few M-class and several C-class flares over the a few days in February.

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