A Long Solar Flare Hits Earth


A long solar flare was reported to have hit Earth in the early hours of Monday, United States time, or Tuesday, Indonesia time. So strong, the impact of the flare caused radio signal interference.

At 06:23 this morning, space weather expert Dr. Tamitha Skov warned that some parts of the world could experience radio and GPS blackouts for the next hour.

“M3.4-flare now! R1-level #RadioBlackout from active region 3030,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

Amateur radio & GPS users are predicted to experience signal interference during the Earth’s day especially in Asia Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, India, & Eastern Russia for the next hour.

According to Spaceweather.com, the flare was caused by an explosion from a sunspot known as AR3032, which lasted three hours.

These flares are in class M, which means they are medium in size and generally cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth’s polar regions.

Furthermore, according to the European Space Agency, M-class flares can sometimes also cause small radiation storms.

The extreme ultraviolet radiation from the flares is said to have also caused shortwave radio blackouts in Japan and Southeast Asia, affecting frequencies below 30 MHz.

They also warned that exploding sunspots might throw a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) into space.

One of the most powerful forms of solar storms, CMEs occur when the Sun emits a cloud of charged particles and electromagnetic fluctuations.

When the CME is pointed at Earth, one distinct effect observed is that it enhances the aurora borealis and australis, the natural light shows produced when particles from the solar wind excite atoms in Earth’s upper atmosphere, making them glow.

Auroras form light curtains that follow geomagnetic field lines — and appear in different colors depending on which atoms are excited. The two main gases in Earth’s atmosphere are oxygen, which emits a greenish glow, and nitrogen, which appears in blue, pink, and purple colors.

For information, a solar flare is a large explosion on the Sun that occurs when energy is suddenly released after being stored in a “rotating” magnetic field (usually above sunspots).

Within minutes of exploding, these flares heat the sun to millions of degrees and produce a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to X-rays and gamma rays.