Spectacular Solar Flare Erupts From the Sun
By Tariq Malik
April 16, 2012
The sun erupted in an amazing solar flare today (April 16), unleashing an intense eruption of super-heated plasma that arced high above the star’s surface before blasting out into space.
The powerful solar flare occurred at 1:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT) and registered as a moderate M1.7-class on the scale of sun storms, placing it firmly in the middle of the scale used by scientists to measure flare strength. The storm is not the strongest this year from the sun, but photos and video of the solar flare captured by NASA spacecraft revealed it to be an eye-popping display of magnetic plasma.
“Great eruption happening on the sun now,” scientists with NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) wrote in a Twitter post.
The solar flare erupted along the sun’s eastern limb (its left side) from an active region that may also be responsible for solar storm activity observed on Sunday, SDO mission officials said. The flare kicked up a massive amount of solar plasma in an explosion known as a coronal mass ejection, or CME.