On Saturday (July 3), the sun exploded with a surprise solar flare, the biggest since 2017, in an early display of cosmic fireworks ahead of the Fourth of July.

A video from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a solar flare emerging from the star's top right limb as viewed by the spacecraft, which is one of many that monitors the sun's weather.

Sunspot AR2838

Powerful X1.5-class solar
(Photo : Image from NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory)

According to the US Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), the solar flare erupted from a sunspot named AR2838 around 10:29 a.m. EDT (1429 GMT) on Saturday and was classified as a strong X1-class sun event. According to center authorities, it produced a short radio blackout on Earth.

The massive solar flare can be seen erupting from the sun's top right limb in a video released by Nasa. It emerged overnight and vanished even faster.

X-Class Solar Flares

Solar flares of the X-class are the most powerful types of eruptions on the sun. When directed directly at Earth, the most powerful ones can threaten astronauts and satellites in orbit and disrupt electrical networks on the ground. In addition, M-class solar flares may potentially accelerate Earth's auroras, resulting in spectacular displays.

Flare Emission

The sunspot AR2838, which emitted the flare on Saturday, is a new active area on the sun.

SWPC officials said in the bulletin, "This sunspot area formed overnight and was also responsible for an M2 flare (R1 - Minor Radio Blackout) around 07:17 UTC on July 3."

The sunspot's huge flare registered as a class X1.5 on the scale used to measure solar occurrences, according to Spaceweather.com, which analyzes space weather events. The sunspot has now moved around to the far side of the sun.

"The sunspot has vanished as soon as it arrived," Spaceweather.com said today. "It rotated over the sun's northern limb on July 4 and will spend the following two weeks transiting the sun's far side."

Solar Cycle

The weather of the sun follows an 11-year cycle, with active phases and years of solar quiescence in between. In 2020, the current cycle, known as solar cycle 25, began.

Dr. Tony Phillips, a space weather observer and astronomer, said the sunspot looked like a clear day that rapidly turned stormy. But, he stated at Spaceweather.com, "It didn't even exist yesterday, demonstrating the unpredictability of solar activity." "It's possible that more flares are on the way...," he continued.

Solar Flare

Solar flare
(Photo : Getty Images)

A solar flare, according to Nasa, is an "intense burst of radiation" caused by the release of magnetic energy linked with sunspots. Flares are the solar system's greatest explosive occurrences, according to the researchers, and may be observed as "bright patches on the sun" that last anywhere from a few minutes to many hours. Flares are mostly monitored using x-rays and optical light. Flares are also places where particles are accelerated, such as electrons, protons, and heavier particles.

Media reports suggested that the sunspot AR2838 disappeared as fast as it appeared in the first place. However, on July 4, the sunspot moved to the sun's northwestern limb, and it will move the far side of the star in the coming two weeks, Optic Flux reported.