NASA releases video of solar flare flying towards Earth
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 11:50 p.m. EST on Dec. 16, 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. (NASA)
This image provided by NASA shows the sun releasing a M1.7 class flare associated with a prominence eruption on April, 16, 2012. This image was taken by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. This visually spectacular explosion occurred on the sun's Northeastern limb (left) and was not Earth directed. (AP Photo/NASA/SDO/AIA)
The sun emitted a significant solar flare, peaking at 1:48 p.m. EDT on Sept. 10, 2014. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation....
NASA reported the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, on August 24th. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the images of the flare, which erupted on the left side of the sun. (Sept. 1)
This blend of two images taken by NASAâs Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a solar eruption that occurred on May 12, 2013. One image shows light in the 171-angstrom wavelength, the other in 131 angstroms. Scientists say the Motherâs Day solar flare was the strongest of the year and occurred on the side of the sun that faced away from Earth. (AP Photo/NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory)
This July 2012 image taken from video provided by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows ribbons of plasma and magnetic lines bursting from the sun. Stretching from one active region to another, magnetic field lines cause the looping formations. (AP Photo/Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA)
This false-color image provided by NASA shows a solar flare, lower center, erupting from the sun on Thursday, July 12, 2012. Space weather scientists said there should be little impact to Earth. The flare erupted from a region which rotated into view on July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/NASA)
In this Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014 image made available by NASA, a giant cloud of solar particles, a coronal mass ejection, explodes off the sun, lower right, captured by the European Space Agency and NASA's Solar and Heliospheric Observatory. The sun is obscured to show the atmosphere around it. The solar flare caused the cancellation of a launch to the International Space Station on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. (AP Photo/ESA, NASA - SOHO)
This image provided by NASA shows a solar flare early Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2011, the largest in 5 years. The image was was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in extreme ultraviolet light at 131 Angstroms. Scientists say the bursts of radiation hurled by the solar blast were not in the direction of Earth, so thereâll be little impact to satellites and communication systems. (AP Photo/NASA)
In this x-ray photo provided by NASA, the sun is shown early in the morning of Sunday, Aug. 1, 2010. The dark arc near the top right edge of the image is a filament of plasma blasting off the surface _ part of the coronal mass ejection. The bright region is an unassociated solar flare. When particles from the eruption reach Earth on the evening of Aug. 3-4, they may trigger a brilliant auroral display known as the Northern Lights. (AP Photo/NASA)
A powerful solar flare that erupted Wednesday afternoon Oct.29, 2003, at 3:48 pm EST, is seen with the Extreme ultraviolet Imaging Telescope aboard NASA's SOHO satellite.The telescope is sensitive to extreme ultraviolet light, resulting in the green hue. The event was the second in as many days.(AP Photo /NASA )
IN SPACE - FEBRUARY 15: In a screen grab taken from a handout timelapse sequence provided by NASA / SDO, a solar spot in the centre of the Sun is captured from which the first X-class flare was emitted in four years on February 14, 2011. The images taken by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft reveal the source of the strongest flare to have been released in four years by the Sun, leading to warnings that a resulting geo-magnetic storm may cause disruption to communications and electrical supplies once it reaches the earths magnetic field. (Image by NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory via Getty Images)
IN SPACE - MARCH 6: In this handout from NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), a X5.4 solar flare, the largest in five years, erupts from the sun's surface March 6, 2012. According to reports, particles from the flare are suppose to reach earth early March 7, possibly disrupting technology such as GPS system, satellite networks and airline flights. (Photo by NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) via Getty Images)
NASA released powerful footage showing over a half a dozen solar flares in one day. A solar flare occurs when magnetic energy that has been built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released with intense variation of brightness. Photo: NASA/SDO
The US Space Agency Nasa has released new footage showing a series of powerful solar flares.
This image provided by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center shows a significant solar flare erupting on June 10, 2014. The sun has emitted 3 X-class solar flares in two days. X-class denotes the most intense solar flares. (AP Photo/Goddard Space Flight Center)
New video released by NASA Thursday captures the spectacular instant the sun fired off a solar flare in Earth's direction.
The video shows the coronal mass ejection that created a X1.6 class flare, a designation that means it's one of the more intense flares the sun could put off according to NASA.
The flare, which erupted off of the surface of the sun Wednesday shortly before 2 p.m. EDT, has been barreling towards Earth since then traveling at roughly 2.5 million miles per hour. Scientists don't know exactly what time the flare's burst of radiation will reach us, but National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center expects it will hit sometime Friday.
Tom Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center, told the Associated Press the flare could cause some disruptions for satellites or radio transmissions, but probably not major ones. The power grid could also be impacted, but the radiation shouldn't be enough to shut it down.
But there's some good news: The flare could give a boost to the aurora borealis. AccuWeather.com Astronomer Hunter Outten predicts the radiation could fire up the famous northern lights so much that they're visible in Canada and northern parts of the United States rarely treated to such views.
Outten expects Friday night to be the best time to catch the big show, although residents living anywhere between Illinois and New Jersey could end up with cloud cover obstructing the view. Those living in the upper chunk of the east coast, along with those anywhere between Nebraska and northern California -- and further north -- could get fair to good views of the northern lights.