May 9, 2014 2:43 pm

WATCH: Powerful solar flare captured by four space telescopes

WATCH ABOVE: NASA cameras capture unprecedented view of solar flare

TORONTO – NASA has released a video of the most well-documented solar flare in its history.

Solar flares are powerful and rapid ejections of magnetic energy from the sun. If that energy reaches Earth, it can cause geomagnetic storms, resulting in radio blackouts and radiation storms in our upper atmosphere.

On March 29, the sun unleashed a powerful X-class solar flare — the most powerful known type of solar flare.

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Anticipating some activity in that particular region of the sun, NASA had several of its cameras turned towards it. Four separate spacecraft were turned to the region, making it the best flare ever observed.

READ MORE: How solar storms could leave us in the dark

“This is the most comprehensive data set ever collected by NASA’s Heliophysics Systems Observatory,” said Jonathan Cirtain, project scientist for Hinode at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

“Some of the spacecraft observe the whole sun all the time, but three of the observatories had coordinated in advance to focus on a specific active region of the sun. We need at least a day to program in observation time and the target – so it was extremely fortunate that we caught this X-class flare.”

The four space observatories were NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS), NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO), NASA’s Reuven Ramaty High Energy Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) and the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Hinode.

The ground-based National Solar Observatory’s Dunn Solar Telescope located at Sacramento Peak in New Mexico also imaged the eruption.

Scientists hope to use the data to better understand the workings of our nearest star.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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