Double solar flare causes radio blackouts in Asia and Australia

(ORDO NEWS) — A┬árestless sunspot ejected a double solar flare, causing radio blackouts in Asia and Australia.

Sunspot AR2993 flared up with two M1 flares in quick succession, according to spaceweather.com. Solar flares are bursts of electromagnetic radiation; Class M flares are moderate-sized flares that can disrupt some radio frequencies and sometimes expose astronauts in space to higher than normal levels of radiation.

Sunspot AR2993 is “medium-sized,” solar physicist Dean Pesnell of NASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center in an email last week, “but it’s hundreds of millions of square miles in size the Earth will sit in the active region just as comfortably as like an egg in a nest.

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Sunspots are areas of the Sun where the magnetic field is temporarily much stronger than in the surrounding areas.

These magnetic forces block the flow of hot gas from the interior of the Sun, causing sunspots to become much colder than their surroundings. Solar flares occur when magnetic field lines near sunspots reorganize explosively.

Sometimes these bursts of radiation also cause coronal mass ejections (CMEs) – explosions of the Sun’s plasma.

For several weeks, the Sun experienced a tense situation, with many active sunspots sending out flares. Solar activity is manifested in regular 11-year cycles, which have been recorded since 1775. The Sun is currently in its 25th solar cycle and is experiencing a period of increased activity.

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Cycle 25 is expected to peak in late 2024 or early 2025, which means an increase in the frequency of sunspots, flares and CMEs.

Some of these flares and CMEs are likely to be more powerful than the average binary M1s that the Sun has just ejected. Just last week, on April 19 and 20, another sunspot (AR2992) flared up with a powerful X-class flare.

X-class flares are 10 times more powerful than M-class flares and can cause radiation storms that disrupt satellites, radio communications and even the power grid on Earth. Luckily, the Earth didn’t suffer the brunt of last week’s X-flare, as the sunspot wasn’t pointed directly at the planet.

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Large solar flares and CMEs can also produce magnificent aurora farther south of the Earth’s poles than is usually the case.

Solar particles from the Sun interact with the magnetic fields surrounding the Earth, exciting air molecules in the upper atmosphere and causing them to emit photons of light. Result? Changing light curtains in green, blue and pink.

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