Just how big was yesterday’s solar flare? Well, compare it to the size of Earth. The X2.7 class solar flare flashed on the edge of the sun on May 5, 2015. This image was captured by our Solar Dynamics Observatory and shows a blend of light from different wavelengths. The Earth is shown to scale.
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.
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