The sun erupted for the second time in less than 24 hours Monday morning, releasing the most powerful solar flare so far of 2013.
Monday's solar flare, which peaked at 9 a.m. Pacific time, came just 14 hours after the second largest solar flare of 2013, which occurred on Sunday evening.
A solar flare is a huge explosion in the sun's atmosphere that sends out a burst of radiation. The Earth's atmosphere protects us from that radiation, but some satellites could be affected.
Monday's solar flare is classified as an X2.8, according to
In the language of solar flare watchers, an X class solar flare is the largest type of solar flare. An X2 is twice as powerful as an X1, and an X3 is three times as powerful, etc.
The Sunday solar flare was the first X-class solar flare of 2013.
Both solar flares were also associated with coronal mass ejections, which can send billions of tons of solar material hurtling through space at speeds of hundreds of miles per second.