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Nasa snaps spectacular solar flare

Last updated 08:58 14/03/2014
Solar flare
Nasa

FIERCE DISPLAY: A solar flare erupts on the far right side of the sun, in this image captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. The flare peaked at 10.34am March 13, NZ time.

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Images of a spectacular solar flare have been captured by Nasa.

The sun emitted a mid-level flare, peaking at 11.34am (NZ time) yesterday and was spotted by Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

The observatory captures images of the sun in many wavelengths of light at the same time, each of which is typically presented in a different colour.

Each wavelength shows different aspects of the same event, as seen in the three images of a yesterday's flare.

This flare, seen on the right side of the picture, was classified as an M9.3 flare, just slightly weaker than the most-intense flares, which were labelled X-class.

The letters denote broad categories of strength, while the numbers provide more information.

An M2 is twice as intense as an M1, while a M9 is nine times an intense as an M1.

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation.

Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to affect humans on the ground, however when intense enough they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where global positioning system and communications signals travel.

Solar flares are sometimes associated with coronal mass ejection, or CME, another solar phenomenon that can send solar particles into space and affect electronic systems in satellites and on Earth.

However, this solar flare was not believed to have an accompanying CME.

DIFFERENT VIEWS: Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory captures images of the sun in many wavelengths of light at the same time, each of which is typically colourised in a different colour.

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