A huge solar flare temporarily knocked out Global Positioning System communications

Posted September 08, 2017

The flares were considered by some scientists to be mid-range, while others discussed them as among the most intense class of solar flares.

The most powerful event to effect Earth on record is the Carrington Event, named after Richard Carrington, an amateur astronomer who witnessed a solar flare (estimated to be an X10) while sketching sunspots in England in 1859. They added that the X9.3 flare was the largest produced thus far during the current solar cycle, an 11 year period of the sun's waxing and waning activity that began back in December 2008.

As of about 11.30am NZT, data from several satellites showed a sharp increase in activity. That means an X2 is twice as intense as an X1 and so on. The flare, which peaked at 8.02am EDT, caused a radio blackout following the "shock arrival" of radiation from the sun.

Two high-intensity solar flares were emitted on Wednesday, the second of which was the most intense recorded since the start of this sun cycle in December 2008, NASA said. "According to him, "it threatens the bounce space technology and communication systems", and its power is estimated as close to the maximum is X9,3 (letter denotes the class of extreme flares, and the number of the power of the flash)". A flare, which is a localized explosion of light and particles on the Sun, can also trigger a secondary blast of particles into interplanetary space. However, as Onsager told LiveScience, this status is based more on the frequency of flares, not their potential intensity. They are measured on a scale from one to nine in C, M and X classes.

According to the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), the radiations disturbed high-frequency radio communications for one hour on the Earth's side that is facing the sun and low-frequency communications used in navigation.

Amidst the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, we should be ready to face another storm, this time from the Sun as it exudes huge amount of charged particles towards Earth.

The solar flares were strong enough to cause radio disruptions on the day but will have a continued impact during the night. Scientists are still watching to see if a CME is making its way toward the Earth.

Solar flares occur in sun spots, the cooler regions of the sun. They could still be responsible for additional flares in the coming days.