Massive solar flare raises fear of blackouts, GPS disruption on Earth
In the early hours of July 15, a new sunspot called AR3058 caused a powerful solar flare eruption and it has been sent hurtling in the direction of the Earth. Radio blackouts and GPS disruptions are expected.
The Sun has been relentless this month. We have witnessed multiple solar flares and minor solar storms throughout the month. Just last week, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) and NASA spotted a M2.5-class solar flare erupting on the Sun which caused a brief radio blackout and disrupted GPS activities on the dayside of the Earth. And just seven days later, the Earth has suffered a replica attack by the Sun, but with an even more powerful solar flare. According to reports, the flare went off in the Early hours of July 15 on a new sunspot region AR3058 which appears to be more unstable than usual. Scientists are concerned that this might be the first in a series of multiple flares, with a considerable risk of X-class flare eruption. Read on to find out the damage this solar flare has caused.
The reports for this solar flare came from popular space weather physicist Dr. Tamitha Skov who posted on Twitter to warn about the incoming radiation from the solar flare. She said, “New region 3058 fires a M2.9-flare! It is now the fourth region on the Sun with the X-factor. NOAA sets X-flare risk at 10% but that could rise soon. More #RadioBlackouts impacting amateur radio operations on Earth's dayside are likely. #GPS users stay vigilant near dawn & dusk”.
Powerful solar flare causes blackout, GPS disruption
It is expected that on the day side of the Earth, there can be significant shortwave radio blackouts and disruption to GPS systems, which will make it difficult for any traveling ships and small aircrafts to find navigation. Ham radio operators, also known as amateur radio, will have to find a higher band as lower one's will be kept shut down to not damage the instruments from the incoming solar radiation. But that's not all. NOAA has predicted that more solar flare eruptions can take place on AR3058, with a 10 per cent chance of an X-class solar flare.
It is not clear at this point whether the solar flare has also pushed solar matter like coronal mass ejection (CME) towards the Earth, which could give rise to another solar storm in a couple of days.
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