Previously hidden sunspot unleashes colossal X-class solar flare

A newly emerged sunspot is making its presence known, unleashing a powerful X-class solar flare that triggered shortwave radio blackouts across the South Pacific.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded a massive solar flare on Thursday (Jan 5) at 7:45 pm EST (0045 GMT on Jan 6). The outburst blasted out a glowing-hot plasma dome that lingered above the sunspot AR3182 for over an hour, according to Spaceweather.com (opens in new tab). Because of the sun‘s rotation, the lively sunspot will soon face Earth and could continue its explosive activity in the days ahead.

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