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Strong solar flare disrupts radio communications in North America

An intense X-level solar flare causes radio blackout in North America.

By: HT TECH
Updated on: Aug 09 2023, 09:37 IST
The solar flare occurred just after two days of weaker X flare which occurred on August 5. (NASA)

Sun’s activity has increased over these past few weeks and it has generated numerous strong solar storms. Currently, Sun is in its 11-year solar cycle and it will reach its maximum next year, which will make these solar storms even more intense in terms of being a potential threat to satellites, power grids, the internet infrastructure and more. On Monday, a powerful solar flare was spewed out by the Sun that caused a radio and navigation signals blackout in North America as the energetic particles reached Earth.

The solar flare

The solar flare, which was rated as an X1.5, was the 20th instance of an X flare, which is known as the most powerful cluster of solar flares. According to solar physicist Keith Strong, the solar flare was of category 3 on the five-point scale developed by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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"The X1.5 Flare caused an R3 (strong) radio blackout event on the daylit side of the Earth (most of the US and Canada and the Pacific Ocean)," Strong said on X (formerly Twitter). "Frequencies below 5 Mhz were most affected and navigation signals degraded."

Also read: Looking for a smartphone? To check mobile finder click here.

The solar flare occurred just after two days of weaker X flare which occurred on August 5. A total of two massive X-level solar flares occurred in the past two days, but this is not all, the sun is releasing multiple moderate solar flares and three have already occurred in the last 24 hours., as per space.com reports.

U.K. space weather forecaster Met Office released a cautionary warning notice due to the presence of charged solar particles in Earth's atmosphere which can result in a mild solar radiation storm. For both passengers and crew aboard aircraft flying over polar regions, as well as astronauts in space, these charged particles can be harmful. Additionally, they can also harm satellites.

Earlier experts reported that two coronal mass ejections (CME) rushed towards Earth. These CMEs can cause a geomagnetic storm when it touches the Earth's magnetic field.  However, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration( NOAA) model reported that the two CMEs have merged by cannibalizing the first, making it more intense and powerful. This CME can lead to a G3-level storm, which can disrupt power grids and telecommunication systems.

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First Published Date: 09 Aug, 08:20 IST
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