On Feb. 9, 2024, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured an event of the Sun emitting a strong solar flare, peaking at 8:14 a.m. The flare was classified as an X3.3 flare.
X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. Although X is the last letter, there are flares more than 10 times the power of an X1, so X-class flares can go higher than 9. X flares also have the potential to create global transmission problems and worldwide blackouts.
The solar flare originated from sunspot AR3576, which moved beyond the sun’s edge on February 8, positioning Earth outside its direct path. Since the sunspot is situated quite far south, it’s improbable that any coronal mass ejection (CME) associated with it will directly hit Earth; instead, it’s expected to pass beneath our planet.
The massive solar flare was accompanied by a coronal mass ejection (CME), which is a significant release of plasma and magnetic field from the sun. This event included a visible eruption with a coronal wave, indicating a rapid CME heading towards the west.