NASA: Huge Solar Flare Jams Radio, Satellite Signals


A powerful solar eruption that triggered a huge geomagnetic storm has disturbed radio communications and could disrupt electrical power grids, radio and satellite communication in the next days, NASA said.

A strong wave of charged plasma particles emanating from the Jupiter-sized sun spot, the most powerful seen in four years, has already disrupted radio communication in southern China.

The Class X flash — the largest such category — erupted at 0156 GMT Tuesday, according to the US space agency.

“X-class flares are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms,” disturbing telecommunications and electric grids, NASA said Wednesday.

A statement from the U.S. National Weather Service says that geomagnetic storms resulting from solar flares like these can last 24 to 48 hours, though some can continue longer. “Ground to air, ship to shore, shortwave broadcast and amateur radio are vulnerable to disruption during geomagnetic storms. Navigation systems like GPS can also be adversely affected,” the statement reads.

According to the AFP, in 1973 a magnetic storm from a solar flare caused 6 million people to lose electricity in Canada.

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(Source: Huffington Post / AFP)