These three images of a solar flare on Nov. 13, 2012, captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, shows mid-level solar flare from left to right: light in the 304 Ångstrom wavelength, peaking at 9:04 p.m. EST.
Solar flares are powerful bursts of harmful radiation. Hopefully it cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere, but it can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where Global Positioning System (GPS) and communications signals travel.
NASA says these flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun’s normal 11-year activity cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum, which is expected in 2013. These cycles discovered in 1843 and continued to monitor since then, and it is normal for there to be many flares a day during the sun’s peak activity.