Sunspot erupts, producing dangerous X-class solar flares! Blackout hits Pacific Ocean area | Tech News

Sunspot erupts, producing dangerous X-class solar flares! Blackout hits Pacific Ocean area

A radio blackout was observed over the Pacific Ocean as a terrifying X-class solar flare hit Earth recently, according to reports.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Jul 03 2023, 09:35 IST
6 TERRIFYING solar storms that blasted Earth in 2022
solar flares
1/6 On June 29, a surprise solar storm struck the Earth. The solar storm was not caused by coronal mass ejections (CME) but by a corotating interaction region (CIR), which opened a hole in the Earth's magnetosphere. It was a G1-class solar storm which is capable of causing shortwave radio blackouts and GPS disruptions. Interestingly, it coincided with the rare five planet alignment event.  (NASA)
solar flares
2/6 Extremely rare pink auroras could be seen on November 3 near Greenland, after a G1-class solar storm slammed into the Earth. Solar storms usually give a greenish hue due to ionizing of Oxygen atoms. However, the CME in this case was able to reach the lower strata of the atmosphere which ionized Nitrogen atoms and gave off the rare pink aura.  (Representative Photo) (Pixabay)
solar flares
3/6 On November 6, a powerful solar flare which was estimated to be an X-class solar flare caused temporary radio blackouts in Australia and New Zealand. The resultant solar storm blocked all high frequency radio waves making it hard for various emergency services and airlines that use radio communications to operate for multiple hours.  (Pixabay)
solar flares
4/6 On August 7 and 8, a mysterious phenomenon was seen after a solar storm strike which scientists call STEVE (strong thermal emission velocity enhancement). A gigantic ribbon of purple light followed by a wave of green light could be seen in many parts of North America.   (@KaniskiDylan / Twitter)
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5/6 A rare double solar storm attack was seen on March 14 when a G2-class solar storm was quickly followed up with another G1-class solar storm. Scientists believe that such multiple solar storm attacks are going to be more frequent in coming days as the Sun reaches the peak of its solar cycle. (Pixabay)
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6/6 On October 25, the Sun seemed to beam a smile at Earth even as it spewed a stream of dangerous solar particles towards our planet. Multiple dark regions popped up on the Sun that gave an uncanny impression of a smiley face. The resultant solar storm from the event was noted to be a G2-class which is so strong that it is capable of causing fluctuations in electricity grids on Earth.  (SDO/AIA)
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X-class solar flares were hurled out by a sunspot with a beta-gamma-delta magnetic field. (Pixabay)

Our Sun has a thin layer of second atmosphere that lies just above the photosphere as well as a huge corona. This is the region where we see most of the solar phenomena such as solar flares, prominences, and coronal mass ejections reactions, most of which can directly impact Earth. While Sun's energy is crucial for life to exist on Earth, its related solar phenomena can cause severe damage, especially to tech instruments. Just a few months ago, the worst solar storm in 6 years hit Earth when a menacing cloud of coronal mass ejection, erupting from a sunspot that was 20 times wider than Earth, struck the planet and unleashed a horrifying solar storm that caught everyone off guard.

Now, X-class solar flares have been produced as a result of a sunspot eruption, and these flares have caused radio blackouts in some parts of the world.

Solar flares cause blackouts

According to a report by spaceweather.com, forecasters at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have revealed that a sunspot, named AR3354, with a beta-gamma-delta magnetic field finally erupted during the late hours of July 2. The sunspot has hurled powerful X-class solar flares towards Earth, which have caused a shortwave radio blackout over the Pacific Ocean.

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The report states, “As predicted, giant sunspot AR3354 erupted again, producing a powerful X1-class solar flare during the late hours of July 2nd (2314 UT).”

Why did it cause a radio blackout?

According to the report, the shortwave radio blackout was caused by extreme ultraviolet radiation from the flare ionizing the top of Earth's atmosphere. When charged solar particles hit Earth, radio communications and the power grid are affected, and blackouts can be observed for several hours or even days.

Are X-class solar flares dangerous?

X-class solar flares can create radiation storms which have the potential to not only harm the satellites but also give small doses of radiation to the people flying in airplanes at the time! Moreover, these devastating flares can disrupt global communications and bring down the power grids too.

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First Published Date: 03 Jul, 08:34 IST
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