On August 9, 2011 with the help NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory astronomers can take a video which shows an extremely powerful solar flare, the largest in over four years, as it appeared in the ultraviolet range of the light spectrum. The flare registered as an X6.9 class Sun storm, the largest of the Solar Cycle 24. Solar flare began at 3:48 a.m. EDT (0748 GMT). According to scientists with NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, a space observatory that monitors the sun, this flare had a GOES X-ray magnitude of X6.9, meaning it was more than 3 times larger than the previous largest flare of this solar cycle the X2.2 that occurred on Feb 15, 2011.
Solar flares occur when magnetic field lines on the sun get tangled up into knots, building potential energy until they reach a tipping point. Then, that energy is converted into heat, light and the motion of charged particles.