Early Tuesday, the sun unleashed an extremely powerful solar flare, the largest of the current sun weather cycle which began in 2008.
The eruption could have had serious consequences on Earth if it had taken place on the side of the sun facing the planet. But the flare happened near the edge of the sun which wasn’t aimed at the earth, so it is unlikely to affect the Earth.
"It was a big flare. We lucked out because the site of the eruption at the sun was not facing the Earth, so we will probably feel no ill effects," said Joe Kunches, a space scientist with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s Space Weather Prediction Center.
The solar flare began at 3.48 am EDT and was rated a class X6.9 on the three class scale used to measure the strength of solar flares. This recent solar flare is more than 3 times larger than the previous largest flare of this solar cycle - the X2.2 that occurred on Feb 15, 2011.
The weakest flares are rated class C, medium sized flares are class M while the strongest type of solar eruptions are rated class X.
These gigantic bursts of radiation cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to harm humans on the ground, however they can disrupt the atmosphere and disrupt GPS and communications signals. In this case, it appears the flare is strong enough to potentially cause some radio communication blackouts, NASA said.
Solar activity waxes and wanes over an 11-year sun weather cycle. With the sun transitioning to a busier cycle in 2013, scientists expect more solar activity over the next three to five years.
The largest recent solar flare was in December 2006, which measured X9 on the solar flare scale.
The strongest solar storm on record is called the “Carrington Event”, which is named after Richard Carrington who viewed and reported on the solar flare on Sept. 1., 1859.
Watch the below video to have a look at the solar flare occured on Aug.9, 2011.