This M5 solar flare was captured by NASA's SDO and registered at M5. (Photo : NASA/SDO)
The United States isn't the only one celebrating the Fourth of July with an array of fireworks. Our biggest benefactor, the sun, seems to be getting in on the party as well. The giant star is releasing a flurry of solar flares as a gigantic sunspot is directly facing the Earth.
Sunspot AR515 unleashed a class M3.5 solar flare at around 5:47 EDT on July 4. Class M solar flares are considered powerful, but still medium-strength in the grand scheme of cosmic weather patterns.
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Another solar flare captured by NASA's Space Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft reached a level of M5.
In a statement posted on Facebook and Youtube sites, SDO scientists had this to say:
"As the United States is observing Independence Day, active region 1515 unleashed another M2-class solar flare."
These solar flares, although visually intriguing from 93 million miles away, might pose a threat to Earth on July 4 since the sunspot is directly facing the Earth.
"Chances for a X-class flare are increasing. AR 1515 is developing a beta-gamma-delta' magnetic field that harbors energy for the strongest of flares," said another post on SDO's Facebook.
"If any X-flares do occur today, they will certainly be Earth-directed."
X-class solar flares are the most powerful solar flares that the sun can possibly give off, and they can impact technology here on Earth such as satellites and astronauts not properly shielded at the time.
The sunspot AR515 is so large that it is eight times the diameter of Earth.
If anything, let's hope the solar flares won't interfere with views of the thousands of fireworks displays bound to go off when the sun begins sink into the horizon.
Here's the M5 solar flare as captured by NASA: