Sun unleashes another powerful X-flare in less than a week!

The sun has fired off another powerful X-class solar flare, this time from a newly emerging sunspot as it turns to face Earth. This solar outburst marks the third X-class flare in less than a week. 

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded a massive solar flare on Tuesday (Jan. 10) at 5:47 p.m. EST (2247 GMT). The blast hurled a plume of debris into space and radiation from the flare ionized Earth's upper atmosphere, triggering radio blackouts across the South Pacific, according to (opens in new tab).

Solar flares are categorized by size into lettered groups, with X-class being the most powerful. Within each class, numbers from 1 to 10 (and beyond, for X-class flares) indicate a flare's relative strength. The recent flare clocked in at X1.09, a relatively weak example of the most powerful class.