The biggest sunspot on the face of the sun in more than two decades unleashed a major flare on Friday (Oct. 24), the fourth intense solar storm from the active star in less than a week.
The solar flare occurred Friday afternoon, reaching its peak at 5:41 p.m. EDT (2141 GMT), and triggered a strong radio blackout at the time, according to the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center. NASA’s sun-watching Solar Dynamics Observatory captured stunning video of the huge solar flare.
The flare erupted from a giant active sunspot known as AR 12192 and was classified as an X3.1-class solar storm — one of the most powerful types of solar storms on the sun — but it is not the first time the sunspot has made its presence known. [Biggest Solar Flares of 2014 in Photos]
“This is the fourth substantial flare from this active region since Oct. 19,” NASA spokesperson Karen Fox wrote in a status update.