On Valentine's Day (ET)
the Sun unleased
one of its most powerful explosions, an
The blast was the largest so far in the new solar cycle.
Erupting from active region
AR1158 in the Sun's southern hemisphere,
the flare is captured here
in this extreme ultraviolet image from the
Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
The intense burst of electromagnetic radiation momentarily overwhelmed
pixels in SDO's detectors causing the bright vertical blemish.
This X-class flare was also accompanied by a
coronal mass ejection (CME), a massive cloud
of charged particles
traveling outward at nearly 900 kilometers
Skywatchers at high latitudes should be
alert for aurorae tonight.
SDO AIA Team