[caption id="attachment_82553" align="aligncenter" width="690"] NASA Releases Spectacular Solar Flare Video[/caption]Earlier this month, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)released an enhanced video depicting an actual solar flare that is large enough to fit several planet Earths inside. The video portrays the solar flare in red and yellow wavelengths of ultraviolet light. The one minute video and still photos represent only brief images of the total observation period that lasted more than five hours. The Solar Dynamics Observatory is responsible for monitoring and reporting solar and interplanetary activity for NASA.
A solar flare is a sudden and rapid eruption of active radiation from the surface of the sun. Solar flares are caused by the powerful and competing magnetic forces near the sun. At times they are strong enough to pull plasma and gases from the sun, causing the material to break away from the surface of the sun. These intense and colorful storms are common occurrences and although they do contain intense radiation, are not considered harmful to the earth because they cannot pass through the atmosphere.
This recent solar flare is part of an ongoing geomagnetic storm watch and was classified as a mid-level or M class storm. On March 29, 2014 an X class flare was reported in the same region and affected radio and satellite transmissions for more than one hour. The storms are classified according to their size, intensity, and ability to disrupt atmospheric events. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center is constantly on watch to monitor and predict unusual activity in space and especially on the surface of the sun. Many sunspots have demonstrated increased activity in the past decade, which causes the spectacular displays like the one released in the most recent video. Earthlings are unlikely to notice any disturbance or visible evidence of the storms brewing within the sun.