On August 9, 2011 at 3:48 a.m. EDT, the sun emitted an Earth-directed X6.9 flare, as measured by the NOAA GOES satellite.
This was the largest flare of the current solar cycle, an R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout, alternatively classified as an X6, according to the U.S. NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center.
These gigantic bursts of radiation can disrupt GPS and communications signals. In this case, scientists say the eruption took place on the side of the sun that was not facing Earth, so thereâ€™ll be little impact to satellites and communication systems, AP reports.
Space scientist Joe Kunches at the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado says there were reports of brief short-wave radio disruptions in Asia, but little else.