HomeScience and ResearchSpaceX-class Solar flares spark radio blackout over much of Europe

X-class Solar flares spark radio blackout over much of Europe

Published on

On Saturday, as it slipped out of view, an active sunspot on the sun that is rotating away from Earth blasted a strong farewell shot (April 30).

A large solar flare from the sunspot AR2994, also known as Active Region 2994, was recorded as an X1.1-class solar storm. (Solar flares of the X-class are the sun’s most intense outbursts.) The solar flare was captured in spectacular video by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory in several wavelengths of light.

“Even with the sunspot completely hidden behind the sun’s northwestern limb,” as explained by astronomer Tony Phillips, “the explosion still produced enough radiation for a strong shortwave radio blackout over the mid-Atlantic Ocean and much of Europe.”

According to an NOAA advisory from the Space Weather Prediction Group, the solar storm began at 9:37 a.m. EDT (1337 GMT) and reached peak strength 10 minutes later. The flash erupted just before Saturday’s partial solar eclipse, the first of 2022. For observers in portions of South America, the southern Pacific Ocean, and Antarctica, the moon was expected to block out a portion of the sun. Here’s when the April 30th solar eclipse will begin.

Phillips noted that the solar explosion probably certainly resulted in a powerful coronal mass ejection, or CME, of charged particles. However, because the flare emanated from a sunspot concealed from Earth’s direct view, it is unlikely to reach the planet, he noted.

Solar storms that burst from the sun are classified according to their power, or class, by scientists. A-class, B-class, and C-class solar flares are the weakest, but M-class storms are powerful enough to magnify Earth’s northern lights when they impact our planet.

Solar flares of the X-class are the sun’s most powerful explosions. When directed directly towards Earth, the most violent X-class storms can endanger satellites and astronauts, as well as disrupt power stations and radio signals on the ground. With the exception of X-flares, each type of solar flare has nine intensity categories. The largest known X-flare occurred in 2003 and reached X28 before the sensors tracking it were overwhelmed.

Solar Cycle 25 is the current cycle in the sun’s 11-year space weather cycle (it began in 2019). The sun is currently in a period of its cycle where it is becoming highly active. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, the joint US-European Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO), and other satellites are also keeping an eye on it.

Image Credit: Getty

You were reading: X-class Solar flares spark radio blackout over much of Europe

Latest articles

Does This Mean We Stopped Being Animal and Started Being Human Due to ‘Copy Paste’ Errors?

A Surprise Finding About Ancestral Genes In Animals Could Make You Rethink The Roles...

The One Lifestyle Choice That Could Reduce Your Heart Disease Risk By More Than 22%

New Research Reveals How To Reduce Stress-related Brain Activity And Improve Heart Health Recent studies...

Aging: This Is What Happens Inside Your Body Right After Exercise

The concept of reversing aging, once relegated to the realm of science fiction, has...

Immune-Boosting Drink that Mimics Fasting to Reduce Fat – Scientists ‘Were Surprised’ By New Findings

It triggers a 'fasting-like' state In a recent study, scientists discovered that the microbes found in...

More like this

Does This Mean We Stopped Being Animal and Started Being Human Due to ‘Copy Paste’ Errors?

A Surprise Finding About Ancestral Genes In Animals Could Make You Rethink The Roles...

The One Lifestyle Choice That Could Reduce Your Heart Disease Risk By More Than 22%

New Research Reveals How To Reduce Stress-related Brain Activity And Improve Heart Health Recent studies...

Aging: This Is What Happens Inside Your Body Right After Exercise

The concept of reversing aging, once relegated to the realm of science fiction, has...