NOT A CARRINGTON EVENT, HAPPILY: Giant Solar Flare Sideswipes Earth. Of course, if it had been, you wouldn’t be reading this now. “The solar flare associated with Tuesday night’s CME registered as an X-class flare, the most powerful type. It was the fourth X flare unleashed by a sunspot known as AR1748 since Sunday night (May 12). While incredibly powerful, Tuesday’s flare actually was the weakest of the four rapid-fire X flares, clocking in at X1.2. The previous three registered as X1.7, X2.8 and X3.2 flares, respectively. Those three all occurred while AR1748 was facing away from Earth, however, so they did not affect our planet.” And a good thing, too.