Sun emits mid-level solar flare
Monday, June 10, 2013, 1:33 -
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On June 7, 2013, the sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, sending powerful bursts of radiation into space.
This particular flare is classified as a M5.9 -- the weakest flare that can still cause space weather effects, like solar winds, and disturbances in Earth's upper atmosphere.
"Space weather is the field that studies how what's going on on the sun effects us here on Earth -- in our near-space environment and on other planets," explains Molly Gilbert, a heliophysicist at NASA.
The recent flare caused a moderate blackout of radio signals, but it has since subsided.
Solar activity has been on the rise lately. NASA says the sun's 11-year cycle is expected to peak later this year.