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Sun Erupts With a Monster X9-Class Solar Flare — Earth Feels Its Punch

6 Sep 2017, 16:28 UTC
Sun Erupts With a Monster X9-Class Solar Flare — Earth Feels Its Punch
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The powerful X9-class solar flare erupted from the active region (AR) 2673, a large cluster of sunspots — seen here by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (NASA/SDO)
This morning, the sun erupted with the most powerful solar flare in a decade, blasting the Earth’s upper atmosphere with energetic X-ray and extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation.
The flare was triggered by intense magnetic activity over an active region called AR2673 that has been roiling with sunspot activity for days, threatening an uptick in space weather activity. As promised, that space weather brought an explosive event at 1202 UTC (8:02 a.m. PT) that ionized the Earth’s upper atmosphere and causing a shortwave radio blackout over Europe, Africa and the Atlantic Ocean, reports Spaceweather.com.
Radio blackout map: When the Earth’s ionosphere is energized by X-ray and EUV radiation from solar flares, certain radio frequencies are absorbed by increased ionization of certain layers of the atmosphere, posing issues for global radio communications (NOAA)
The electromagnetic radiation emitted by flaring events affect the Earth’s ionosphere immediately, but now space weather forecasters are on the lookout for a more delayed impact of this eruption.
Solar flares can create magnetic instabilities that may launch coronal mass ejections ...

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