This is the most spectacular solar flare we’ve seen in ages

Earlier this afternoon, magnetic fields on the Sun's northeastern limb exploded in an arcing jet of roiling plasma, producing what is hands down one of the most spectacular solar explosions we've seen in years.

Featured here are two videos of the blast, captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory when the explosion occurred around 17:45 UT (12:45 EST).

The eruption registered as an M1.7 on the Richter Scale of solar flares, which, by the numbers, is actually pretty tame relative to some of the other solar flares we've seen recently. But from a purely visual standpoint, this footage is nothing short of remarkable, and is a stunning reminder of just how massive the eruptive prominences associated with solar flares can be.

The flare wasn't pointing towards Earth when it erupted, which means we don't have to worry about any radiations storms screwing with our satellites, plane flights or radio communications — at least not yet. Spaceweather.com is reporting that "this event confirms suspicions that an active region of significance is rotating onto the Earth-facing side of the sun," which means an Earth-directed flare could be imminent.

When aimed at Earth, strong solar flares and CMEs can supercharge the planet's auroras, also known as the northern and southern lights. Extremely powerful CMEs can pose a danger to astronauts and satellites in space, as well as power grids, navigation and communications systems on Earth. (Source)

The image below shows the beautiful blast in extreme ultraviolet light.

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