Solar flares cause radio blackouts, may impact satellite operations

Solar flares cause radio blackouts, may impact satellite operations

Between Saturday and Monday, space weather observers recorded a string of potent solar flares; the strongest of them, an M8-class flare, happened on Monday at 7:07am EDT (1207 GMT), according to SpaceWeather.com.

Although M-class flares are sometimes referred to as “mild,” Nasa warns that they can nevertheless produce temporary radio blackouts at the poles and modest radiation storms that might threaten astronauts.

The fourth-strongest solar flare, M, is ranked by scientists among five lettered categories. Larger outbursts are represented by higher numbers within each category.

In the days before, there had also been a lot of solar activity. On Saturday, sunspot AR3088 produced an M4-class flare.

According to SpaceWeather, the passing storm may trigger G1-class geomagnetic storms beginning on the 28th and extending through Monday.

The same sunspot on Sunday caused radio blackouts throughout much of North America when it released an M6.7-class flare.

Noaa’s Space Weather Prediction Center issued an M1 (minor) geomagnetic storm warning for Monday in response to the flare on Saturday.

A storm of this strength might have very minor repercussions on power networks, animal migration patterns, and satellite operations.

Because of how the coronal mass ejection (CME) that results from the flare interacts with Earth’s atmosphere, skywatchers in the Northern Hemisphere have been treated to dazzling auroras.

Skywatchers on Twitter reported seeing auroras as far south as Scotland, Alberta, and Montana.

Although certain severe storms have the potential to destroy electrical infrastructure or interfere with radio communications, most geomagnetic storms brought on by solar flares have little impact on earth or spacecraft.

The sun has been especially active this year, producing multiple huge solar flares and coronal mass ejections that have damaged some satellites and produced breathtaking aurora displays.

The sun may be starting to “wake up” from a more dormant period of its normal 11-year cycle of activity based on this increasing activity.

Despite the limited ability to predict the sun’s activity, some forecasters have claimed that the upcoming solar cycle may be among the greatest in recorded history.

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