A giant solar flare erupted from a huge sunspot Thursday and scientists believe the effects may be felt on Earth today, causing auroras — or Northern Lights — at lower than usual altitudes.
The sunspot, called Active Region 1520, erupted in the strongest flare the sun can have, an X-class flare, according to EarthSky.org.
The huge sunspot grouping that produced the flare is about 10 times as wide as Earth. It emerged in the past week over the sun’s southeastern edge, according EarthSky.
When an X-class flare occurs, it may send high energy solar particles toward Earth, which cause the geomagnetic field surrounding our planet to become unsettled. Telecommunications on Earth can be affected, as well as satellites, EarthSky says.