giant-sunspot-major-solar-flare-oct24-2014-close-upThe biggest sunspot on the face of the sun in more than two decades unleashed a major flare on Friday (Oct. 24), the fourth intense solar storm from the active star in less than a week. The solar flare occurred Friday afternoon, reaching its peak at 5:41 p.m. EDT (2141 GMT), and triggered a strong radio blackout at the time, according to the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center. The flare erupted from a giant active sunspot known as AR 12192 and was classified as an X3.1-class solar storm — one of the most powerful types of solar storms on the sun — but it is not the first time the sunspot has made its presence known. “This is the fourth substantial flare from this active region since Oct. 19,” NASA spokesperson Karen Fox wrote in a status update. More