• An X-Class solar flare erupted on Friday
  • A video shared by NASA shows a rather close view of the event
  • It temporarily affected high frequency radio communications

The Sun belched out a massive solar flare over the weekend. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) has captured the rather intense moment.

The strong solar flare happened at 12.52 ET on Friday. In the footage captured by the SDO – the spacecraft described as an "unblinking eye on the Sun" – one can clearly see the bright spot on the surface of the Sun building up for the event.

It grows brighter and brighter until it finally erupts.

It was classified as an X-class solar flare — "the biggest" and "most intense" of such events following A-, B-, C- and M-class solar flares.

"Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation," NASA Sun & Space tweeted. "Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however – when intense enough – they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS & communications signals travel."

In the case of the latest flare, the X2.1 event reportedly caused a temporary degradation of high-frequency radio communications "on the sunlit side of the Earth," according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC).

In its report on the event, the SWPC noted that the flare actually began at 12:42 ET and peaked at 12.52 ET, before finally ending at 12:59 ET. It also provided a photo of the event, as well as the areas of the planet that were affected.

The latest solar flare didn't come alone, however, with the Sun being particularly active of late. On Sunday, NASA Sun & Space's space weather report included "11 notable solar flares, 30 coronal mass ejections, and 1 geomagnetic storm." It even shared a rather mesmerizing SDO video showing quite a few of the flares that happened of late.

Apart from providing fascinating views of our solar system's host star, keeping an eye on the Sun is actually a key part of having a better understanding of space weather. People might not realize it since it's understandably less observable than the weather on the planet, but it is important to monitor space weather as it may actually have a serious impact on important things like communication and electricity.

Such was the case during the "Quebec Blackout" of 1989. On March 13, 1989, Quebec in Canada experienced an electrical power blackout as a result of an explosion on the Sun that happened three days before. And its impact was felt even in regions like New York and New England.

It was only quite lucky that the U.S. had spare power at the time, NASA noted. Though the event also impacted some satellites that "tumbled out of control" for hours.

Although such major events are considered to be "rare," finding ways to predict them could help people and governments to be better prepared. And just this year, a team of scientists, using SDO data, found clues that could help predict when the next flare will happen, taking us a step closer to better solar flare and space weather prediction.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory observed the M6.6 solar flare on June 22, 2015. NASA/SDO