BEWARE! Solar flares causing blackouts, GPS crashes

As many as three solar flares were emitted by the Sun in the past couple of days, causing blackouts, GPS crashes, auroras and more.

| Updated on: Aug 31 2022, 10:04 IST
Solar Flare explosion may cause Geomagnetic storms on Earth
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1/5 The report stated “Something just exploded on the sun's north-eastern part. On July 31st at 2309 UT, Earth-orbiting satellites registered a long-lasting C9.3-class solar flare; the intensity is probably an underestimate because it was partially eclipsed.” (NASA)
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2/5 According to the report, debris flying away from the blast site on the Sun was observed by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). “The explosion is significant because it may herald an active region set to emerge over the sun's north-eastern part later this week. A new sunspot group could bring an end to weeks of relative quiet,” the report further added. (NASA SDO)
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3/5 Although Earth was not directly in the line of fire, the solar flares which hurled towards Earth may cause the emergence of Geomagnetic storms. According to NASA, a geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance of Earth's magnetosphere which occurs when there is a strong exchange of energy from the solar wind in the space above Earth. (REUTERS)
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4/5 According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) researchers, there is a chance of a minor G1-class geomagnetic storm on August 3. As per the K-index, which measures the magnetic field around the Earth, solar storms are divided into 5 classes from G-1 to G-5. The G-1 is the lowest impact Geomagnetic storm whereas G-5 is assigned to the most severe storms. (NASA)
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5/5 The frequency of solar flares is set to increase in the coming years as the Sun reaches the peak of its solar cycle, likely to be around 2025. This will not only increase the frequency of solar flares and solar storms, but could also potentially Earth systems like power grid and GPS. (NASA)
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A trio of strong solar flares were emitted from the Sun between August 27 and August 29, causing various after-effects. (

Our Sun is in the middle of its 11-year solar cycle, resulting in increased solar activity. Earth has faced numerous solar flares these past few months and more are expected as the Sun moves ahead in its cycle. As many as three solar flares have been observed being emitted from the Sun in the past couple of days.

According to, three solar flares were detected emitting from the Sun between August 27 and August 29. A powerful M8-class flare was emitted on Monday, August 29 at 7:07 a.m. EDT. M-class solar flares can cause blackouts, GPS crashes on the negative side and on the positive side, some fascinating auroras on the poles.

When a solar flare hits the Earth, the radio communications and the power grid is affected. It can cause power and radio blackouts for several hours or even days. However, electricity grid problems occur only if the solar flare is extremely strong.

A similar M4-class solar flare was also observed emitting from the Sun on August 28. The flare was emitted from the Sunspot AR3088. According to, “The glancing blow could spark G1-class geomagnetic storms starting on the 28th and stretching into Aug. 29.” A minor solar storm was also predicted to hit Earth on Monday.

Stunning auroras were visible in the Northern Hemisphere as far as Scotland and Alberta, skywatchers reported on Twitter.

Auroras form as a result of these solar storms too. Sar flares interact with the Earth's magnetic field to cause the formation of Geomagnetic storms. Geomagnetic storms are often the precursor to stunning streaks of green light across the sky known as Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis.

The frequency of solar flares is set to increase in the coming years as the Sun reaches the peak of its solar cycle, likely to be around 2025.

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First Published Date: 31 Aug, 10:04 IST