Solar flare! The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 6:34 p.m. EDT on March 12, 2014, and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, captured an image of it. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.
SDO captures images of the sun in many wavelengths of light at the same time, each of which is typically colorized in a different color. Each wavelength shows different aspects of the same event, as seen in these three images of the solar flare.
Image Credit: NASA/SDO/Goddard Space Flight Center