Instruments of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), has witnessed yet another solar flare, and although it did not pose a threat, it does foretell an approaching sunspot region.
This one was relatively mild as well as pointed away from Earth, so it did not have any repercussions here on our planet or light up the aurora borealis. But it made for some spectacular images nonetheless. The M1.7-class flare would have posed little threat even if pointed our way, since it falls smack in the mid-range of such events, according to Space.com.
Nevertheless it was “one of the most visually-spectacular explosions in years,” Spaceweather.com reported.
The sun is entering a heightened activity period, scheduled to peak in 2013–14, so we will be seeing many more of these over the next few years. This flare’s Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) will hit NASA’s STEREO-B spacecraft, the Spitzer space telescope and the rover Curiosity, which is traveling toward Mars. Venus and Mars “could also receive a glancing blow,” Spaceweather.com said, but added, “This event confirms suspicions that an active region of significance is rotating onto the Earth-facing side of the sun.”
Below, NASA shows views through several types of filters. More photos can be found at Space.com.