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Multiple M-class solar flares erupt on the Sun triggering radio blackouts on Earth, reveals NOAA

NOAA has revealed that multiple M-class solar flares have erupted on the Sun in the last 24 hours. These have triggered short-wave radio blackouts on the Earth. Check details here.

Updated on: Dec 06 2023, 14:15 IST
Three separate solar flare eruptions have occurred in the last 24 hours, sending extreme ultraviolet radiation to the Earth and causing short-wave radio blackouts. (Pixabay)

Yesterday, December 5, a minor solar storm struck the Earth sparking auroras in the arctic circles. It was a minor affair, but the solar activities have been relentless with the Sun nearing the peak of its solar cycle. In the last 24 hours, three separate M-class solar flares have erupted on the Sun, releasing extreme ultraviolet radiation. The radiation has resulted in triggering short-wave radio blackouts on Earth, as per data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It is unclear at this point whether any of these eruptions have released coronal mass ejections directed at our planet, which could further cause solar storms in the coming days.

The official X account of Space Weather Live, a website monitoring solar storms and other space weather-related phenomena, posted about the latest eruption less than an hour ago, and revealed that a “Moderate M2.11 flare from sunspot region 3513” has erupted, sparking “Minor R1 radio blackout”. Space Weather Live picks the data directly from NOAA and posts them in an easy-to-understand format.

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Solar flares plague the Earth

Apart from this, there have been two other solar flare eruptions in the last 24 hours. As per Space Weather Live, at 3 AM on December 6, a moderate M1.46 solar flare from sunspot region 3513 was spotted. The short-wave radio blackout caused by this flare primarily affected North America. Another M1.58 solar flare eruption was detected at noon on December 5, and the brunt of the impact of the ultraviolet radiation was suffered by Asia.

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Space weather agencies are yet to find any evidence of CME released from these events. We will only find out about them in the hours to come. While nothing can be confirmed before the solar storm forecast models give their predictions. Considering the intensity of the solar flare, it is assumed that even if a solar storm does occur, it will be a minor event.

The tech behind solar observation

While many space agencies from NASA with its Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) keep track of Sun-based weather phenomena, one that particularly stands out is the DSCOVR satellite by NOAA. The satellite became operational in 2016 and tracks different measurements of the Sun and its atmosphere including temperature, speed, density, degree of orientation, and frequency of the solar particles. The recovered data is then run through the Space Weather Prediction Center and the final analysis is prepared.

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First Published Date: 06 Dec, 14:10 IST