Solar flare triggers blackouts on Earth, NASA satellite shows; Will a solar storm hit?

Yesterday, several highly active regions on the Sun were spotted far away from Earth, threatening our planet with some powerful solar storms. But before that, one of the Earth-facing sunspots, AR3331, went unstable yesterday, June 9, and produced an M2.5-class solar flare. The event was detected by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (STO). The eruption led to a shortwave radio blackout in Mexico and the southern United States, marking the second such event this week. Earlier this week, a similar volcanic eruption caused blackouts in Africa. Astronomers are currently trying to determine whether a solar storm could form following a volcanic eruption.

A step Report Via SpaceWeather.com, “Sunspot AR3331 erupted on June 9 (1711 UT), producing an M2.5-class solar flare. The pulse of radiation ionized Earth’s upper atmosphere. In turn, there was a short interruption in shortwave radio transmissions in the Gulf of Mexico. It was also reported that signal loss at frequencies below 15 MHz was observed after 30 minutes.

Second blackout in a week

After a three-week period without much solar activity, the Sun prepares for an intense period. There may not have been any solar storms this week, but solar flares and resulting blackouts continued. Three days ago, a solar storm caused a blackout over the African continent, disrupting wireless communications for 90 minutes. Yesterday, the Gulf of Mexico caught fire after losing shortwave channels for half an hour.

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The ionizing effect that causes blackouts can disrupt radio communications, GPS services and drone operations, as well as delaying flights and leaving ships at sea with no reception.

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But this is not the end of the problems. Researchers should look for signs of coronal mass ejection (CME) emissions after the eruption, as it could trigger a solar storm over the next couple of days.

How the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory Monitors Solar Activity

The NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) carries a full suite of instruments to observe the Sun and has done so since 2010. It uses three very important instruments to gather data from various solar activities. They include the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI), which takes high-resolution measurements of the longitudinal and vector magnetic field across the solar disk, where the Sun’s extreme ultraviolet irradiance and Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) are measured. Provides continuous full-disk observations of the solar chromosphere and corona in seven extreme ultraviolet (EUV) channels.

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