NASA captured a stunning image of a massive burst of energy erupting from the Sun.
The enormous salvo of charged particles, known as a solar flare, was so powerful it caused radio blackouts on Earth on Tuesday.
According to Nasa, the “powerful solar flare” was fired from the sun at 9:25 p.m. UK time (4:25 p.m. EST) on Monday.
Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which tracks the Sun’s activity, captured a photo of the rare event.
In a statement, Nasa said large solar flares can disrupt Earth’s magnetic field and scatter radio and GPS signals.
According to NOAA, isolated radio failures were observed after the eruption of electromagnetic radiation.
More solar activity is expected this week.
Sunday’s torch is classified as an X1 torch. X Class denotes the most intense flares, while the number signals their strength.
An X2 is twice as intense as an X1, an X3 is three times as intense, etc.
Solar storms are caused by CMEs and solar flares, which are giant ejections of hot material called plasma from the Sun’s outer layer.
They can cause the appearance of colorful auroras by energizing particles in our planet’s atmosphere
Each solar storm is graded by severity on a scale of one to five, with G1 denoting “minor” and G5 denoting “extreme.”
At the high end of the scale, storms wreak havoc on our planet’s magnetic field, which can disrupt power grids and communications networks.
“Harmful radiation from a flare cannot penetrate Earth’s atmosphere and physically affect people on the ground,” NASA says.
“However – if they are intense enough – they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communication signals propagate.”
In the past, major solar flares wreaked havoc on our planet.
In 1989, a powerful solar flare shot down so many electrically charged particles that the Canadian province of Quebec was without electricity for nine hours.
Not only can they cause problems for our technology, but they can also harm astronauts working on the International Space Station, either by exposing them to radiation or by interfering with mission control communications.
The Earth’s magnetic field helps protect us from the more extreme effects of solar flares.
The sun is currently at the beginning of a new 11-year solar cycle, during which flares and flares usually become more intense and extreme.
These events are expected to peak around 2025, and it is hoped that Nasa’s Solar Orbiter spacecraft will observe them all as it aims to fly within 26 million miles of the Sun.
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9512389/nasa-sun-photo-solar-flare-radio-blackouts/ Nasa unveils eerie Sun photo showing ‘powerful solar flare’ triggering radio blackouts – The Irish Sun