solar-flareThe sun unleashed a major solar flare on Saturday (March 29), causing a radio blackout for several minutes on Earth, space weather experts say. The brief X1-class flare erupted from the now decaying sunspot AR2017 at 1:48 p.m. EDT (1748 GMT) on Saturday, according to a report from the NOAA-led Space Weather Prediction Center. Although AR2017 is dissipating, it may still produce more solar flares in the coming days, the report stated. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory caught sight of the solar blast, capturing video of the huge solar flare. “Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation,” Karen Fox of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center wrote in a statement. “Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however — when intense enough — they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.” More