RADIO OUTAGES AND SATELLITE DISRUPTION BEING REPORTED http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/07/12/x-class-solar-flare-causes-radio-outages
Posted at 02:31 PM ET, 07/12/2012
Giant sunspot shoots out intense, X-class Solar flare
By Jason Samenow
[The sunspot] is so wide it stretches roughly 139,000 kilometers
across the sun which is about 11 Earth diameters. This particular
sunspot is even larger than its predecessor, AR1515, which was visible
on the sun last week before it rotated around to the back side of the
A massive sunspot region facing Earth - known as 1520 - has unleashed a
large solar flare. NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center says the
flare is rated an X1.4. This type of flare is considered “strong” and can cause a blackout of high frequency radio communication on the sunlit side of Earth for one to two hours.
It is not yet known whether the flare was accompanied by a coronal
mass ejection (CME) - an outburst of particles that can trigger a
geomagnetic storm on Earth and damage the electrical grid.
Joe Kunches of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder said
one of the NASA satellites tasked with watching for solar weather,
SOHO, was “on maneuvers” when the flare launched.
That will make the task of predicting the course of any subsequent CME more difficult.
“The home plate umpire wasn’t paying any attention,” said Kunches.
But two other NASA sun-facing satellites, STEREO A and B, were watching.
“It’s now up to the first and third base umpires to see if it crosses home plate” – meaning Earth, Kunches said.
UPDATE, 2:35 p.m.:
NASA’s Goddard Space Weather Center said a CME has occurred with the flare. No additional information is yet available. Link: Why forecasting space weather is difficult
In addition to possible effects on the power grid, geomagnetic storms
can disturb Earth-orbiting satellites and produce aurora - mainly at
high latitudes, but into the mid-latitudes if they are strong enough
We’ll keep you posted about any new developments with this sunspot region and solar flare.
The Post’s Brian Vastag contributed to this report.
In: World News
Tags: 2012, Emergency, Warning, Solar, X-Flar, Major, Collapse, Earth, Sun, Planet
Location: Earth, Texas, United States (load item map)
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