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15 December 2023

Biggest solar flare for years disrupts radio signals on Earth

15 December 2023

A Nasa telescope has captured the biggest solar flare in years, which temporarily knocked out radio communication on parts of Earth.

The sun spit out the huge flare on Thursday, resulting in two hours of radio interference in parts of the US and other sunlit parts of the world. Scientists said it was the biggest flare since 2017.

Multiple pilots reported communication disruptions, with the impact felt across the country, said the US government’s Space Weather Prediction Centre.

Scientists are now monitoring this sunspot region and analysing for a possible outburst of plasma from the sun, also known as a coronal mass ejection, directed at Earth. The eruption occurred in the far northwest section of the sun, according to the center.

Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the action in extreme ultraviolet light, recording the powerful surge of energy as a huge, bright flash. Launched in 2010, the spacecraft is in an extremely high orbit around Earth, where it constantly monitors the sun.

The sun is nearing the peak of its 11-year or so solar cycle. Maximum sunspot activity is predicted for 2025.

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