The Sun Just Shot Off the Biggest, Most Spectacular Solar Flare of the YearS

Early this morning, while most of us were resting peacefully in our beds, everyone's favorite flaming ball of plasma decided to give NASA's cameras a little show. More specifically, the Solar Dynamics Observatory managed to capture our sun's biggest solar flare of the year thus far.

Classified as an M6.5, it's not the hugest solar flare—that honor belongs to the X-class. But it was at least enough to cause a "moderate" radio blackout that has since subsided.

And if it seems like we've been seeing more solar flares than usual these days, it's because we have. The sun's 11-year activity cycle is approaching its maximum, which it should officially hit by the end of the year. So if these incredible images are anything to go by, we're in for a few more treats over the next several months. All of which we can safely enjoy thanks to our lovely, protective atmosphere. [NASA via The Atlantic]

The Sun Just Shot Off the Biggest, Most Spectacular Solar Flare of the Year

Images: NASA