The sun released a powerful solar flare late Monday night that briefly caused a radio blackout.
Sky News reports that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association categorized the radio blackout caused by the solar flare as an R3 on a R1-R5 scale.
NOAA describes an R3 radio blackout, writing:
“HF Radio: Wide area blackout of HF radio communication, loss of radio contact for about an hour on sunlit side of Earth. Navigation: Low-frequency navigation signals degraded for about an hour.”
The CS Monitor reports that the solar flare last night erupted from the sunspot AR11598. The same sunspot has produced three solar flares in the last two days and astronomers believe that it will produce more flares this week.
Astronomer Tony Phillips wrote on Spaceweather.com:
“This means more flares are probably in the offing, and they will become increasingly Earth-directed as the sunspot turns toward our planet in the days ahead.”
Last night’s event was ranked as an X1.8 solar flare, one of the stronger classifications, by NOAA and the National Weather Service. X class solar flares indicate powerful solar storms that can disrupt communication on earth. M class flares can create spectacular Auroras and C class solar flares have little to no effect on earth.
Here’s a video of the solar flare that caused a brief radio blackout last night.
The Space Weather Prediction Center writes:
“Impulsive flares aren’t generally associated with severe space weather, and additionally, this region is still several days away from directly facing Earth from center disk. Nonetheless, the potential for continued activity remains, so stay tuned for updates as Region 1598 makes its way across the visible disk.”