A significant X-class solar flare unfurled from the Sun early Tuesday morning, causing a strong radio blackout and an associated coronal mass ejection (CME).
Tuesday's flare adds to a series of notable solar activity that has taken place throughout October and November.
The flare generated a 10cm radio burst that lasted for seven minutes, according to NASA's Space Weather Prediction Center. November has seen a number of notable solar flares, including the most powerful one of the year. There are several classes of solar flares, but M-class and X-class are most noteworthy because they can cause geomagnetic storms on Earth. The numbers following the flare's letter class provide more information about the flare's strength.
An X1-class flare erupts from the right side of the sun in this image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on Tuesday.
The sun unleashed a powerful solar flare early Tuesday, the latest in a series of intense storms this month from Earth's closest star. The solar flare ranked as an X1-class event, one of the strongest types of storms the sun can have.


X-class solar flares are the most powerful types of solar storms, and when directed at Earth, the powerful outbursts can put satellites and astronauts in orbit at risk. An X2 flare is two times as intense as an X1 flare, so an X3 is three times as intense as an X1, according to NASA. The largest solar flare of 2013 erupted from the sun yesterday sparking a temporary radio blackout on Earth.
This is the strongest flare seen so far in 2013, NASA spokeswoman Karen Fox explained in a statement. The flare is visible on right side of the sun in this image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on Nov. M-class flares are the weakest type of solar flare that can cause some space weather effects near Earth, while X-class flares are the most powerful class of solar flare. It erupted from an active sunspot region called 1893, and space weather experts suspect it may have produced a coronal mass ejection (CME) — an explosion of solar plasma freed during a flare.
At the moment, the sun is currently going through the peak of its 11-year solar cycle — named Solar Cycle 24.
The short-lived radio communications blackout on Earth registered as an R2 event (on a scale of R1 to R5).


Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun's normal 11-year cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum, which is expected in late 2013.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory caught sight of the solar flare and captured a high-definition video of the solar eruption.
5, but Earth was not in its direct path and therefore the flare did not cause any major issues on the planet.
Additionally, the eruption produced a strong M6.5 class sun storm from active sunspot AR1719, which is located near the center of the solar disk. The flare erupted from a region that produced many flares in its two-week journey across the face of the sun, and is shown here just before rotating out of view.



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