Image of the Day: Intense solar flare caught on camera

Credit: NASA / SDO

This mid-level burst of radiation was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory at precisely 3:16 EDT on April 11. According to NASA, "This image shows a combination of light in wavelengths of 131 an 171 Angstroms."

By far the strongest one seen this year, the M6.5 flare actually temporarily caused radio blackouts, disrupting GPS and communication signals that travel through a layer of the atmosphere.

The April 11 flare was also linked to a coronal mass ejection (CME) that could have sent all sorts of solar bits and pieces to Earth 1-3 days after the initial event.

Here's the full image of the solar flare:

(Image credit: NASA/SDO)

And here is the image of the CME with Mars (the bigger white dot to the left):

(Image credit: ESA&NASA/SOHO/GSFC)

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