NASA captures Terrifying solar flare eruption that caused blackouts on Earth

The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory has spotted a major solar flare eruption that sent radiation so powerful that it caused radio blackouts on Earth.

| Updated on: Oct 05 2022, 14:48 IST
Solar Flare explosion may cause Geomagnetic storms on Earth
Solar prominence
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)
Solar flare
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)
Geomagnetic storm
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)
Geomagnetic storm
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)
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)
Solar flare
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A dangerously powerful solar flare eruption that caused radio blackouts on Earth was captured by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory. Know what it did. (NASA)

It is not every day that a nuclear blast on the Sun can cause the Earth to shake! But on Monday, October 3, that is exactly what happened. A gigantic filament of magnetism (also known as a solar flare) erupted on the southern hemisphere of the Sun. The solar flare was spotted by NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) which recorded it to be an X1-class solar flare eruption. X-class eruptions are the strongest category. And its impact was felt on Earth where GPS disruptions and radio blackouts impacted critical communications in the affected region. But the danger is not over yet. More solar storms are expected to hit the Earth this week which may multiply the damage. But luckily for us, the SDO is monitoring the Sun to record any incoming danger.

Solar flare eruption causes blackouts on Earth

The solar flare caused radio blackouts in the USA, which is also dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ian. Due to the mobile network towers being knocked out, the rescue operations and disaster response missions were being conducted via radio channels of 25MHz. This frequency was entirely blocked by the radiation and as a result the operations were delayed by hours which could have resulted in loss of life and property.

The tech that tracks the terror

The Solar Dynamics Observatory is a NASA mission which has been observing the Sun since 2010. The goal of the SDO is to understand how the Sun influences the Earth and near-Earth space by studying the solar atmosphere. It has also been investigating how the Sun's magnetic field is generated and structured, how this stored magnetic energy is converted and released into the heliosphere and geospace in the form of solar wind, energetic particles, and variations in the solar irradiance.

To do this, the SDO uses Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) which takes high-resolution measurements of the longitudinal and vector magnetic field over the entire visible solar disk, Extreme Ultraviolet Variability Experiment (EVE) which measures the Sun's extreme ultraviolet irradiance and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) which provides continuous full-disk observations of the solar chromosphere and corona in seven extreme ultraviolet (EUV) channels.

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First Published Date: 05 Oct, 14:47 IST