By Mara Johnson-Groh
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Late on August 16, 2020, the Sun released a burst of light and energy known as a solar flare. This B1-class solar flare – the second smallest class of flare – peaked at 1:26p.m. EDT.
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory observes the Aug. 16, 2020, B-class flare at 131, 171, and 193 angstroms. Credit: NASA/SDO
Solar flares, which are abrupt outbursts of energy and light on the solar surface, are often accompanied by CMEs. B-class flares – or “background” flares – were originally the lowest class of flare before lower level A-class flares were observed. B-class flares are relatively common; there have been at least three B-class flares in the last week.
The recent activity occurred in an otherwise quiet area of the Sun, providing an example of activity that did not originate from a sunspot – the darkened, magnetically active patches on the solar surface that often spawn flares and CMEs.
The flare was first seen by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which has kept a constant eye on the Sun for over a decade.