Picture of the Day: An M-Class Solar Flare

By Rebecca J. Rosen

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NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this colorized image of an M4.7 class solar flare last Thursday during a period of increased activity in sunspot AR 1476, a massive area 60,000 miles across. The flare did not release an associated coronal mass ejection, a burst of plasma that, if headed toward Earth, can result in aurorae at the planet's poles. The sunspot has released more than 30 solar flares so far.

Below, recent Pictures of the Day:

Image: NASA.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/05/picture-of-the-day-an-m-class-solar-flare/257107/