Sun emitted a M5.2-class flare that peaked at 6:07 a.m. EDT on May 8, 2014.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, or SDO, captured images of the phenomenon.
Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.
M class flares are on the order of a tenth as strong as the most intense flares, the X-class flares.