Powerful solar flare erupts on the Sun, causes blackouts on Earth; solar storm feared

Just hours ago, the Sun blasted a powerful solar flare which has caused radio blackouts and GPS disruptions on Earth. Scientists are concerned about an incoming solar storm from an Earth-directed CME.

In the early hours of June 9, a massive solar flare erupted on the surface of the Sun. The solar flare was caused due to multiple explosions in the recently spotted sunspot AR3053. Just a day before, NASA reported on the sunspot and confirmed that it was both growing and facing the Earth causing a higher risk of solar storms. It was also reported that the sunspot contains two dark cores, each of them wider than the Earth. And now, the first solar activity has already taken place there. The radiation from the solar flare has caused shortwave radio blackouts on Earth along with disruptions for GPS systems and amateur radio. Scientists are also on the lookout for any coronal mass ejections released towards the Earth during the eruption as it can cause further solar storms.

Dr. Tamitha Skov, space weather physicist, took to Twitter to report on the solar explosion. She said, “Our #Sun fires up with an M2.5-flare now! Region 3053 shows itself as a big flare player with an R1 radio #blackout on Earth’s dayside. Expect #HF radio issues in western hemisphere & #GPS reception issues over the next hour, especially near dawn & dusk”.

Solar storm scare after a massive solar flare causes blackouts on Earth

SpaceWeather.com also reported on the incident and stated that the major effect of the pulse of radiation from the solar flare will be seen on the Pacific side of North America, while the rest of the regions will be relatively safe from it. The flare was spotted to be an M2.5 class, which is a medium-to-high flare. For the universal, solar flares are divided into 5 categories of A, B, C, M and X. where A is the weakest flare and X is the strongest.

After the solar flare an advisory has been released for the radio operators as well as ships and planes that rely on GPS navigation in the Pacific region to expect disruptions for a few hours to come. Amateur radio, also known as ham radio, users will not be able to access the shortwave frequency till the effect of the radiation lowers down. While the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory continues to observe the Sun, at the moment it is difficult to ascertain whether CME has been released towards the Earth or not. However, in case a solar storm is indeed brewing, it should not be higher than G2 level and will reach Earth between July 11-13.

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