The sunny side of planet Earth had all of its GPS communications temporarily knocked out Wednesday after the sun emitted two massive solar flares, showering the planet with radiation storms.
Both events were X-Class solar flares, the most severe classification, and one of them was the most powerful since 2005, Engadget reported. When solar flares like these are directed at Earth, the resulting radiation storm can easily impede radio and GPS communications. These resulted in heavy communications interference for a full hour Wednesday morning.
The second storm was an X9.3, the strongest since 2005 and severe enough to cause the sun to spew out plasma from its surface in a coronal mass ejection (CME). Radio emissions collected by the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) indicate that the storm caused a “wide area of blackouts” on the sunlit side of Earth, according to Space.com.
Wednesday’s explosion spewed out plasma clouds several times the size of Earth at roughly 3 million mph, according to astrophysicist Karl Battams.
— Karl Battams (@SungrazerComets) September 6, 2017
Decided the current huge sunspot regions were worthy of breaking out the old trusty Earth-ograph (Earth-ometer?) to viz their spatial scale pic.twitter.com/skI52TOTiT
— Karl Battams (@SungrazerComets) September 5, 2017
The most powerful sun storm ever recorded blasted the Earth with enough radiation in 2003 to disable NASA’s solar measurement equipment.
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