Nasa releases spectacular images of 2015's first solar flare

The energy released from one solar flare is the equivalent to millions of 100-megaton atomic bombs exploding at the same time

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The Independent Online

Nasa has released incredible images showing the Sun’s first solar flare of 2015, which led to a radio blackout in some parts of the world.

The images were captured by cameras at NASA’s sun-watching satellite the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), and show the mid-level flare emitted by the sun in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

In the images, we see rings of light come out of the sun’s surface and bright flashes of light being created across the planet’s surface.

Solar flares are the solar system’s largest explosions and are created when magnetic energy builds up in the planet’s atmosphere and is released altogether.

According to Nasa, the energy released from one solar flare is the equivalent to 100-megaton atomic bombs.

When a flare occurs, radiation across the entire electromagnetic spectrum is released, reaching all corners of the solar system.

While the earth’s atmosphere prevents solar flares from harming humans directly, the flares have been known to cause damage to satellites, radio systems and power grids on earth.

On Tuesday, some mariner and ham radio operators did report temporary blackouts to their communication systems around the time the solar flare happened.

Nasa said the solar flare on Sunday was an M5 class flare, which is a tenth of the size of the most intense X class flares.