The sun put on quite a display late Monday evening -- no nothing that you'd notice being outside. But if you had, say, a specifically configured camera out in space that watched the sun 24/7, you would have seen quite the solar eruption.
Lucky for us, NASA has just such a camera -- the Solar Dynamics Observatory that captured what Spaceweather.com is calling "one of the most visually-spectacular explosions in years."
It was more visual bark than bite -- the flare registered as an "M1.7" in intensity, which is about middle of the road on their measurement scale. (Get into the "X" class, and now you're talking a decent solar event.)
And Spaceweather.com says the blast wasn't directed toward Earth anyway, so as far as us Earthlings are concerned, this was pretty much a non-event aside from the eye-candy and probably won't trigger any strong Northern Lights events.
But it's pretty to look at. So let's all gawk together: