(Cape Canaveral) A NASA telescope has recorded the largest solar flare seen in years, temporarily disrupting radio communications on Earth.
The sun unleashed a massive flare, accompanied by a huge radio burst, on Thursday, causing two hours of radio interference in parts of the United States and other sunny parts of the world.
Scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said this was the largest solar flare since 2017. The resulting radio burst was broad across the spectrum, even affecting higher frequencies, according to NOAA.
That combination led to one of the largest solar radio events ever recorded, Sean Dahl of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center said Friday.
Several aircraft pilots reported a communications blackout, with consequences seen across the country, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center.
Scientists are currently observing this sunspot region and analyzing a possible explosion of plasma from the Sun, also known as a “coronal mass ejection,” that could be directed toward Earth. Such an explosion could trigger a magnetic storm, which in turn could in the coming days disrupt high-frequency radio signals at high latitudes and spark the northern lights, Dahl said.
The solar flare occurred in the far northwestern part of the Sun. The Solar Dynamics Observatory, which NASA launched into orbit in 2010, captured this phenomenon under extreme ultraviolet light, recording a powerful burst of energy in the form of a huge flash of light.
The spacecraft, which orbits in a very high orbit around the Earth, constantly monitors the Sun.
Our star is approaching the peak of its approximately 11-year solar cycle. Sunspot activity is expected to peak in 2025.
The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Education Media Group. The AP is solely responsible for all editorial content.
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