Categories: Solar Astronomysun

The Sun Blasts Out Two X-Class Flares, Strongest of the Year

The Sun gets active! On May 12, 2013, the Sun emitted what NASA called a “significant” solar flare, classified as an X1.7, making it the first X-class flare of 2013. Then earlier today, May 13, 2013, the Sun let loose with an even stronger flare, an X2.8-class. Both flares took place just beyond the limb of the Sun, and were also associated with another solar phenomenon, a coronal mass ejection (CME) which sent solar material out into space.

Neither CME was Earth-directed, and according to SpaceWeather.com, no planets were in the line of fire. However, the CMEs appear to be on course to hit NASA’s Epoxi, STEREO-B and Spitzer spacecraft on May 15-16. NASA said their mission operators have been notified, and if warranted, operators can put spacecraft into safe mode to protect the instruments. Experimental NASA research models show that the CMEs were traveling at about 1,930 km/second (1,200 miles per second) when they left the Sun.

The sunspot associated with these flares is just coming into view, and the next 24 to 48 hours should reveal much about the sunspot, including its size, magnetic complexity, and potential for future flares.

See more images and video below:

Both the X1.7 and the X2.8-class solar flare, plus a prominence eruption, all in one video:

SDO image of an X2.8-class flare on May 13, 2013. Credit: NASA/SDO

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this X1 flare (largest of the year so far) in extreme UV light:

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Nancy_A and and Instagram at and https://www.instagram.com/nancyatkinson_ut/

Recent Posts

NASA Funds the Development of a Nuclear Reactor on the Moon That Would Last for 10 Years

If NASA's Artemis project to return to the Moon permanently is going to succeed, it…

2 hours ago

Amazing Flaky Martian Rocks Were Formed in a Stream or a Small Pond

Mars Curiosity rover continues to make impressive scientific findings as it gets closer to marking…

19 hours ago

Despite its draining power, NASA’s InSight Mars lander is determined to squeeze as much science as it can until the very last moment

Its solar panels are caked with dust and the batteries are running out of juice,…

19 hours ago

More Rocket Launches Could Damage the Ozone Layer

There are few things in this world that brings feelings of awe and wonder more…

2 days ago

NASA Says It’s Satisfied With Rehearsal for SLS Moon Rocket Launch

NASA says it's finished with having to do full-scale dress rehearsals for the first liftoff…

2 days ago

SpaceX is now Constructing the Starship Launch Tower at Cape Canaveral

SpaceX is building another "Mechazilla" launch tower at Launch Complex-39A at the NASA Kennedy Space…

2 days ago