Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Nasa has released spectacular images of a powerful solar flare erupting from the sun.
Although measured as "moderate", the sun storm captured by Nasa spacecraft revealed it to be a stunning display of magnetic plasma.
"Great eruption happening on the sun now," scientists with Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory wrote in a Twitter post.
Solar flares are caused by the release of massive amounts of magnetic energy stored in the sun's atmosphere.
They can release as much energy as one billion megatons of TNT, according to Nasa's website.
The latest solar flare erupted along the sun's 'eastern limb' (left side) in an active region, scientists said.
It generated a massive amount of solar plasma in an explosion known as a coronal mass ejection - a cloud of charged particles thrown millions of miles out into space.
Astronomers measure the strength of solar flares on a letter scale, with the strongest falling into three categories - C, M and X.
The X class sun storms mark the most powerful events on the sun.
The latest flare registered as an M1 class, which places it in the middle of the scale. Read More