NOAA warns that a Category X solar flare could hit today, with smaller storms during the week. Here’s what you should know.

Scientists said the most powerful class of solar flares, which are known to cause transmission problems and power outages around the world, could be emitted this week. On Sunday, the radio outage was indeed detected, though the scientists didn’t say where.

The warning comes from scientists from both the United States and Russia. The latter, from the Fedorov Institute of Applied Geophysics in Moscow, said on Sunday that they had observed three solar flares that day and that they believed X-class flares were possible on Monday, according to The Guardian. Reuters.

X-class flares are the largest class of solar flare activity, and are essentially “explosions on the surface of the Sun that range from minutes to hours in duration,” according to NASA, which calls X-class flares “The real Juggernaut. ”

“Large flares can release enough energy to power the entire United States for a million years,” says NASA, adding that the most powerful Class X flare ever recorded was in 2003. This event was “so powerful that it overburdened the sensors that measured it.” Excessively.” NASA says.

“A strong X-class flare can create long-duration radiation storms, which can damage satellites and even give airline passengers flying near the poles small radiation doses,” the agency said. “X flares also have the potential to create global transportation problems and worldwide outages.”

Unlike geomagnetic storms which are known to cause power outages and heavy driving Northern Lights scenesSolar flares, says the European Space Agency, directly affect Earth’s radio communications and release energetic particles into space. Powerful flares affect the ionosphere, the layer of the atmosphere that conducts electricity. The ionosphere is the level of the atmosphere that interacts with radio waves, and such effects “degrade or completely absorb radio signals,” NASA says, leading to radio blackouts. High-frequency radio between 3 and 30MHz – such as GPS – is mainly affected.

The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center also said in its report Latest forecast That there is a “chance” of a strong Class X event on Monday or Tuesday, with another “slim chance” of it coming on Wednesday. Events on Monday or Tuesday can act as R3 According to the R1-R5 radio blackout measure, NOAA said, which means it has the potential to cause “widespread blackout of HF radio communications” with a loss of radio contact for about an hour in some parts of the Earth.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said in its forecast Monday that radio outages have already been observed in the past 24 hours. The agency said there is at least a 50% chance of less radio outage through Wednesday, with a 25% chance of R3 blacking out on Mondays and Tuesdays, a possibility that drops to 15% on Wednesday.

Are solar eruptions dangerous?

Just a few weeks ago, there were fears of “End of the World Online“It could happen in a decade because activity on the Sun has gone viral. The term seems to have come from a 2021 paper on solar storm effectswhere one researcher described a “giant solar storm” that could cause global internet outages for months.

While severe geomagnetic storms can cause power outages and collapse grid systems, such events are only expected to occur once every 500 years. The last time such an event occurred was 164 years ago.

NASA explains that solar flares become “larger and more common” every 11 years, when the sun reaches its cycle’s maximum activity. This session hasMuch faster intensificationthan scientists originally expected, but it is still expected to be an overall ‘average’ cycle by comparison.

Most solar flares are not dangerous to humans on Earth.

Earth’s atmosphere absorbs most of the sun’s intense radiation, so Flares are not directly harmful to humans on Earth,” says NASA. However, the radiation from the flare can be harmful to astronauts outside of Earth’s atmosphere, and can affect the technology we depend on.”

Solar flares are classified From A-class, which are essentially “background levels,” to X, which are the strongest flares, with B, C, and M rankings in between. NASA says that each of these rating levels represents a 10-fold increase in energy output, which means that an X-class flare, for example, is 10 times more powerful than an M. From 1 to 9.

Class C and notably weaker flares don’t affect the planet, while stronger flares — those rated M5 or higher — can affect technology because they affect the planet’s ionosphere, which is used by navigation and GPS. If light from the flare hits Earth, it could also cause electrical bursts or flashes of light in the ionosphere that lead to radio signal blackouts that last, in the worst case, for up to “hours at a time,” NASA says, potentially affecting computers. Radio is used for emergency communication.

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