If the flare had been directed towards the earth, what would have happened?
A better question; what if this X-WHATEVER FLARE! (X 28) flare from November 2003 was pointed towards us?
"'Tis true, 'tis pity, and pity 'tis 'tis true." -- Poloniouius, in Willie the Shake's _Hamlet, Prince of Darkness_