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Bickley and Marotta

Updated Apr 11, 2013 - 7:00 pm

NASA releases stunning image of solar flare

The sun is shown in the middle of a solar flare. (NASA/SDO)

Whether or not you're a space junky, this photo is impressive.

According to, the photo was snapped as the most powerful solar flare of the year erupted on Thursday.

"This is the strongest flare seen so far in 2013," NASA spokeswoman Karen Fox explained in a statement. "Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun's normal 11-year cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum, which is expected in late 2013."

The M-class solar flare released Thursday was about 10 times weaker than the X-class, which is the strongest the sun can release.

The solar flare caused some radio blackouts on Earth. Some can cause problems with GPS and communication satellites.

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