Between 7 and 8 p.m.Tuesday night, the sun spit out a large, X5-class solar flare. NOAAâ€™s Space Weather Prediction Center called it â€œone of the largest solar flares of the current solar cycle.â€
X class flares are the strongest category of solar flares. According to NASA, they can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms.
These flares are often complemented by phenomena known as coronal mass ejections (CME) which are essentially bursts of solar wind. If a CME is directed toward the Earth, a geomagnetic storm results that can interfere with the Earthâ€™s magnetosphere.
NOAA said predictions for this particular flare/CME event â€œare still being refined.â€
SpaceWeather.com wouldnâ€™t draw any conclusions about where the CME might go.
â€œFirst-look data from STEREO-B are not sufficient to determine if the cloud is heading for Earth,â€ it said.
Its â€œbest guessâ€ was that CME probably wonâ€™t directly head for Earth, but rather produce a â€œglancing blowâ€ on March 8 or 9.
Hereâ€™s a video from NASA showing the flare
Source: Space Weather/ NASA