by Brandon Mercer

(CBS SF) — Someone sure upset the sun, because it’s throwing amazing amounts of radiation out in four solar flares this week, with an X3-class solar flare Friday.

It’s been a busy week for earth’s star, with a partial solar eclipse delighting space watchers Thursday, and three earlier solar flares captured on NASA’s cameras.

The NOAA’s space weather tracking detected the X3.1 class flare Friday, beginning just after two in the afternoon, Pacific time, and lasting till after 3 p.m.

Flares of this strength can disrupt radios and navigational equipment, but harmful radiation is absorbed by the earth’s atmosphere.

BUSY WEEK ON THE SUN: Previous Flares

One legendary solar flare in 1989 actually shut down power grids in the U.S. and Canada. That was an “X15″ class flare, exponentially more powerful than this week’s flares.

An X1.6 class flare erupted on Tuesday. X is the strongest class, and an X2 is twice as strong as an X1.

An M-class or mid-level solar flare peaked at 6:59 p.m. Tuesday night, as measured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.

A third flare, an X1.1 on October 19th also sent radiation toward earth.

SOLAR ECLIPSE: Thursday Afternoon, 10/23

These solar eruptions can trigger larger than usual northern lights also known as the Aurora Borealis, sometimes making the glow visible as far south as Northern California.

Get alerts, see images, and learn what the X-scale means for solar energy at NOAA’s Solar Flare site.

DATA FROM NOAA:
Space Weather Message Code: SUMX01
Serial Number: 106
Issue Time: 2014 Oct 24 2236 UTC

SUMMARY: X-ray Event exceeded X1
Begin Time: 2014 Oct 24 2107 UTC
Maximum Time: 2014 Oct 24 2141 UTC
End Time: 2014 Oct 24 2213 UTC
X-ray Class: X3.1
Optical Class: 3b
Location: S12W22
NOAA Scale: R3 – Strong

NOAA Space Weather Scale descriptions can be found at
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/NOAAscales

Potential Impacts: Area of impact consists of large portions of the sunlit side of Earth, strongest at the sub-solar point.
Radio – Wide area blackout of HF (high frequency) radio communication for about an hour.

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