Holiday Lights on the Sun

  • Released Monday, December 22, 2014
  • Updated Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 1:24PM
  • ID: 11721

The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 7:24 p.m. EST on Dec. 19, 2014. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured an image of the event. 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.

To see how this event may affect Earth, please visit NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center at, the U.S. government's official source for space weather forecasts, alerts, watches and warnings.

This flare is classified as an X1.8-class flare. X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.
No description available.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured an X-class solar flare erupting on the sun on Dec. 19, 2014. This image blends two wavelengths of extreme ultraviolent light, 171 (gold) and 131 (purple).

Credit: NASA/SDO/Duberstein

4k resolution ProRes video in 171 angstrom light.



Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center


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