The sun emitted a significant solar flare on March 11, 2015 and NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which watches the sun constantly, captured the event in the image you see above. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation; this flare was classified as an X2.2-class flare. X-class denotes the most intense flares, while the number provides more information about its strength. An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense.
While harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground; when intense enough, they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where our GPS and communications signals travel.
If you want to check out more information on how this event may affect our planet, visit NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center at http://spaceweather.