A huge solar flare has been caught on camera by a Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory satellite.

The space agency has estimated that the flare released the same amount of energy as one billion hydrogen bombs.

Scientists were cool about the phenomenon and considered it only "medium-sized".

The footage, watched by thousands of people, shows the release of magnetic energy that has been stored in the sun's atmosphere.

The energy heats plasma to tens of millions of degrees Celsius and sub-atomic particles are thrust outwards at up to 2,000 miles per second.

Solar flares can wreak havoc on electronic equipment but Nasa scientists said that Earth would not be affected by this one.

"Eruptions are often associated with solar flares, and in this case an M1 class [medium-sized] flare occurred at the same time, peaking at 1:45pm EDT. The CME [coronal mass ejection] was not aimed towards Earth," Nasa scientists said.

They tweeted: "Great eruption happening on the sun now."