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Major Warning Issued After Sun Spits Out Biggest Solar Flare In Years

Rachel Lang

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Major Warning Issued After Sun Spits Out Biggest Solar Flare In Years

The Sun has spewed out the biggest solar flare in years, but the worst may still be on its way.

According to SpaceWeather.com, rogue sunspot AR2993 erupted twice in quick succession on April 25, which produced 'an overlapping pair of M1-class solar flares'.

In case you weren't aware, solar flares are eruptions of electromagnetic radiation.

M-class flares are moderate-sized flares that can disrupt radio frequencies and sometimes expose astronauts in space to higher levels of radiation - which is precisely what happened.

According to the experts at SpaceWeather.com, 'the double-blast caused a minor albeit long-lasting radio blackout over southeast Asia and Australia.'

The blackout map caused by Monday's solar flare. Credit: Space.com
The blackout map caused by Monday's solar flare. Credit: Space.com

But the good news doesn't stop there.

According to the Space Weather Prediction Center, 'solar activity is expected to be active over the next week' as the Sun moves into an active period for sunspots and other activity.... which will span for the next few years and peak in 2025.

Hooray.

Mark Miesch, a space weather observer at the University of Colorado Boulder, told Space.com: "There's a few predictions that [this solar cycle] might be strong, but we'll wait and see."

Solar weather can cause significant damage to electrical grids, knock out satellites, radio, and other infrastructure.

The increased amount of activity on the sun's surface now comes during a time period of unprecedented space activity from Earth - which could massively effect the number of commercial satellites in Earth's orbit which are most vulnerable to solar eruptions.

This exact scenario happened back in February, when a massive geomagnetic storm dragged 40 newly-launched SpaceX satellites out of orbit, according to the Independent.

We'd be worried for Space-X founder Elon Musk if he hadn't moved on to bigger and brighter things... like buying Twitter.

Anyway, back to outer space.

Solar storms are disturbances on the Sun which travel outwards across our Solar System. Major disturbances have the potential to cause significant impacts to Earth's electronic systems.

In 2012, one such storm missed the Earth by just nine days, with scientists claiming that a direct hit would likely have caused damage to the Earth's electronics systems on such a scale that it would have taken up to a decade to recover.

Featured Image Credit: B.A.E. Inc. / Alamy Stock Photo. Science Photo Library / Alamy Stock Photo.

Topics: Space, News, Australia

Rachel Lang
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