M9.6-Class Solar Flare Explodes, Triggering Blackouts! Satellite hints at new solar storm

After a relatively short period of solar activity, the sun returned to activity yesterday, May 16. A solar flare burst near the X-class in the southeast region of the Sun. Even when the explosion was on the Sun’s horizon and part of it was eclipsed by its rim, the solar flare had a major impact on Earth. Ultraviolet radiation ionized the upper atmosphere and caused a shortwave radio blackout over northern parts of North America and South America. Now, fears are growing of another major solar storm headed for Earth.

According to SpaceWeather.com Report, “Earth-orbiting satellites have detected an M9.6-class solar flare from a sunspot hidden behind the Sun’s southeastern limb. It was only percentage points away from being an X-Flare. The event may herald a period of renewed solar activity as the sunspot turns toward Earth.

Solar storms threaten Earth

The radio blackout was so severe that most shortwave frequencies disappeared while many reports flashed. This would have affected mariners, amateur radio operators and pilots. The blackout lasted for about an hour.

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Next, Earth must prepare for an incoming Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that can cause more solar storms. Even if we are lucky enough to escape it, the massive sunspot that caused the explosion will soon face our planet. Sunspots explode with solar flares and can throw multiple CME clouds toward us that trigger a chain of solar storm events.

How NASA Soho Tracks the Sun

NASA’s SOHO (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) is a satellite launched on December 2, 1995. It is a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) to study the Sun, its atmosphere and its effects on the Solar System. . SOHO is equipped with 12 scientific instruments such as the Extreme Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (EIT), Michelson Doppler Imager (MDI), LASCO (Large Angle and Spectrometric Coronagraph), and captures images of the Sun’s corona, measuring its velocities and magnetic fields. The surface of the Sun, and observes the faint corona surrounding the Sun.

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