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X-Class solar flare

A strong sun flare erupts from a solar sunspot in a photo taken by the National Astronomical Observatories at 1:44 am (Greenwich Mean Time) on Tuesday.

The most powerful solar blast of this solar cycle happened on Valentine’s Day and it will spark bright auroras when it hits the planet this week.

The flare was classified as an X-Class solar flare. At the time of the explosion, from Sunspot 1158, radio bands across the daytime side of the planet, over New Mexico and surrounding areas were affected.

In addition to flashing Earth with UV radiation, the explosion also hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) in our direction.

Geomagnetic storms are possible when the CME arrives 36 to 48 hours.