This is the jaw-dropping moment the sun experiences one of its largest solar storms of the year as particles are blasted out at 1,200 miles PER SECOND.
Solar flares, which are the greatest explosive events we experience, take place on the Sun when energy stored in twisted magnetic fields is suddenly released.
The bursts of radiation aren’t a threat to humans, although when powerful enough they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.
NASA has now released images of a series of violent explosions over the weekend – where it recorded the two largest flares of the year.
They were classified as ‘X Class’ flares, which are the most intense recorded on the Richter-style scale. The first, on May 12, was a 1.7, followed by a 2.8 on May 13.
The flares happened at the same time as a series of coronal mass ejections, which are solar phenomenons where billions of tons of particles are blasted into space.
Research from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory showed the CMEs spewed particles out at a staggering 745 miles per second – the equivalent of 4.32 MILLION miles per hour.
These spectacular events can affect electronic systems in satellites and on the ground, but there was no threat as the ejection wasn’t Earth directed.
However, staff working on the STEREO-B and Spitzer spacecraft have been warned the coronal mass ejections may brush past them, interfering with their operations.
The Sun is currently coming to the end of its solar cycle, which is a period of low and high activity which repeats approximately every 11 years.
There have been 16 X-Class eruptions this year. The largest on the current cycle was a staggering 6.9, which took place on August 9, 2011.