Tag Archives: Solar flares

Sun unleashes X6.9 class flare; Earth spared this time

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 there’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.

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Solar flare eruptions set to reach Earth

“Our current view is that the effect of the solar flare is likely to reach Earth later today Thursday GMT, possibly tomorrow morning,” said Alan Thomson, head of geomagnetism at the British Geological Survey BGS.

He told BBC News: “In the scientific community, there’s a feeling that it’s not as intense as we first thought it might be. But it’s possible still that it could be a large enough event for us to see the northern lights in the UK.”

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