An X1.1-class solar flare was produced by the Sun on Friday, July 6. Experts say that the event – which was the most intense recorded this summer – originated in the same sunspot, called AR1515, that triggered two M-class solar flares earlier this week.
The new event occurred at 7 pm EDT (2300 GMT). Experts say that X-class solar flares are the most intense the Sun is capable of producing. M-class events are somewhat less intense, while C-class ones are the most common, and also the least dangerous.
According to data supplied by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory, it would seem that AR1515 spans the length of 15 Earths in a row, or 118,681 miles (191,000 kilometers). Though yesterday's event was strong, it did not exceed the intensity of March's X5.4-class solar flare.
SDO will continue to monitor the Sun as the star approaches a maximum in its 11-year cycle. This is will occur between now and mid-2013, after which time solar activity will subside, and the star will head for a new solar minimum, Space