Massive solar flare results in ‘profound shortwave radio blackout across Pacific Ocean’


Massive solar flare results in ‘profound shortwave radio blackout across Pacific Ocean’

A massive solar flare, powerful enough to ionize part of Earth’s atmosphere, was detected from the sun on Thursday, March 28. Using satellites from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), scientists were able to observe and report on the eruption of this massive flare. Classified as an X1.1 flare, this event was a large explosion on the sun’s surface caused by the sudden snapping of magnetic-field lines, leading to the emission of bursts of electromagnetic radiation.

According to NASA, X-class flares are the most powerful explosions that the sun can produce. This particular flare was so powerful that it caused a deep shortwave radio blackout over the Pacific Ocean. Following the flare, there was also an expulsion of plasma known as a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME), which luckily missed Earth, sparing us from any potential geomagnetic storm that could have impacted satellite functioning.

This recent solar event follows a “double” X-class flare that occurred on Monday, March 25, triggering the most powerful geomagnetic storm since 2018. This event was a result of a phenomenon known as sympathetic solar flare, where two simultaneous solar explosions took place. Scientists now believe that the sun may have entered a period of peak explosive activity known as solar maximum, a year earlier than previously forecasted. The solar maximum is a part of the sun’s 11-year solar cycle.

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