The sun erupted with one of the largest solar flares of this solar cycle on March 6, 2012 at 7PM ET.
This flare was categorized as an X5.4, making it the second largest
flare, after an X6.9 on August 9, 2011, since the sun’s activity segued
into a period of relatively low activity called solar minimum in early
The current increase in the number of X-class flares is part of the
sun’s normal 11-year solar cycle, during which activity on the sun ramps
up to solar maximum, which is expected to peak in late 2013.
About an hour later, at 8:14 PM ET, March 6, the same region let loose
an X1.3 class flare. An X1 is 5 times smaller than an X5 flare.
These X-class flares erupted from an active region named AR 1429 that rotated into view on March 2.
Prior to this, the region had already produced numerous M-class and one
X-class flare. The region continues to rotate across the front of the
sun, so the March 6 flare was more Earthward facing than the previous
It triggered a temporary radio blackout on the sunlit side of Earth that interfered with radio navigation and short wave radio
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