NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory – SDO – has been our unblinking eye on the sun. It continuously studies how solar activity is created and drives space weather.

Recently, the spacecraft captured an image of the event: The sun emits a strong solar flare, peaking at 7:57 p.m. EDT on January 5, 2023. This solar flare is categorized as an X1.2 flare. The X-class designation indicates the strongest flares and the number gives more details about their strength.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of a solar flare β€” as seen in the bright flash in the left image β€” on Jan. 5, 2023. The image shows a subset of extreme ultraviolet light that highlights the extremely hot material in flares and is colorized in AIA 171 orange. Credit: NASA/SDO

According to, β€œThe flare erupted from sunspot AR3182. A dome of glowing hot plasma, blown up by the explosion, hovered over the event area for more than an hour. This may contain the debris. No coronal mass ejection (CME) has been observed from the region to date.”

“A pulse of X-rays and extreme UV radiation from the flare ionized the top of Earth’s atmosphere, causing a shortwave radio blackout in the South Pacific.”