A sharp increase in solar activity

(ORDO NEWS) — Fast-growing sunspot AR3165 triggered a series of M-class solar flares. During the shelling, the sunspot doused the Earth with more than 10 pulses of powerful ultraviolet and X-ray radiation.

The resulting ionization of the Earth’s upper atmosphere caused a series of shortwave radio blackouts that swept across all longitudes. Aviators and sailors may have noticed poor reception at frequencies below 15 MHz.

Many of the flares have thrown clouds of plasma into space. Preliminary coronagraph data from SOHO suggests that they will all bypass the Earth, passing upwards from our planet.

Another large sunspot, AR3163, has an unstable beta-gamma magnetic field that poses a threat to M-class flares, and it faces directly towards Earth.

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