Actually, it spat out two X-class solar flares, on the morning of 6 September EDT. These are the biggest class of solar flare there is, and the largest explosions in our solar system, with loops of plasma tens of times the size of the Earth.
Solar flares are giant explosions on the surface of the sun that occur when twisted magnetic field lines suddenly snap and release massive amounts of energy.
Space weather scientists classify flares based on their intensity, with X-class flares being the most powerful. These explosions can release as much energy as a billion hydrogen bombs. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center, the sun began unleashing its fury on Wednesday at 5:10 a.m. ET, with an X2.2 flare. Just three hours later, the sun produced a second flare measuring a whopping X9.3—the most powerful on record since 2006.
Solar flare activity has interesting effects on Earth.
This one knocked out high-frequency radio, and degraded low-frequency navigation. The particles from the CME can also cause aurora activity as they interact with Earth’s magnetosphere, so keep your eyes on the skies. They should be arriving within a few days.
While the sun is now heading toward the minimum level of activity in its natural 11-year cycle, these sunspots could continue to flare up in the days ahead.