The sun has emitted the third significant solar flare within 24 hours, the strongest X-class flare this year so far. The flare, classified as an X3.2 flare, surpassed in strength the two flares that occurred earlier in the 24-hour period. The flare was also associated with a coronal mass ejection, which was not Earth-directed.
Experimental NASA research models show that the merged cloud of solar material of the three flares will pass by the Spitzer spacecraft and may give a glancing blow to the STEREO-B and Epoxi spacecraft. Their mission operators have been notified. Operators can put spacecraft into safe mode to protect the instruments from solar material.