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May 14 flare
2013 is currently at the solar maximum, which is the most active part of the sun's 11-year cycle of solar flare activity.
Solar flares erupt with tremendous heat, but don't worry; it dissipates before reaching Earth. But they can temporarily alter the upper atmosphere and create memorable disruptions. Your GPS could send you to the wrong location.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of the X1.2 class solar flare on May 14.
Starting at the top left and going clockwise, you can see the size of each of the four most recent solar flares.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory took these images of the same X3.2-class flare from that erupted on May 13. NASA described the images:
"Starting in the upper left and going clockwise, the images show light in the 304-, 335-, 193-, and 131-angstrom wavelengths. By looking at the sun in different wavelengths, scientists can view solar material at different temperatures, and thus learn more about what causes flares."