Intense solar flare hits Earth, causing radio blackout around Atlantic

A SUNSPOT on the sun’s surface has just erupted, causing radio blackouts around the Atlantic.

Space weather experts have kept an eye on the solar flare that erupted from this sunspot and impacted Earth on May 10th.

The sun emits solar flares quite often


The sun emits solar flares quite oftenPhoto credit: Getty experts said: “The ‘confused’ sunspot AR3006 exploded on May 10 (1355 UT) producing an intense X1.5 class solar flare.

“NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme ultraviolet flash.

“Radiation from the flare ionized the top of Earth’s atmosphere, causing a shortwave radio blackout around the Atlantic Ocean.

“Radio transmissions at frequencies below ~30 MHz were muted for more than an hour after flare-up.”

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The affected radio traffic should now run normally again.

The Earth’s magnetic field protects us from most of the negative side effects of solar flares.

Each solar flare consists of intense electromagnetic radiation that emanates from the sun from time to time and can send a stream of highly charged particles our way.

When a solar flare hits the Earth’s magnetic field, they create geomagnetic storms.

These storms devastate our satellites, our power grid and our radio communications.

Each solar storm that hits Earth is ranked by magnitude.

Some cause radio failures and can pose a hazard to astronauts on the ISS.

A small storm can confuse migratory animals, which rely on the earth’s magnetic field to orient themselves.

One good thing about solar storms is that they can create very beautiful natural displays of light like the Northern Lights.

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These natural light displays are called auroras and are examples of how Earth’s magnetosphere is being bombarded by the solar wind, creating pretty green and blue displays.

The sun is currently at the beginning of a new 11-year solar cycle, during which flares and flares usually become more intense and extreme.

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Chris Barrese

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