The Sun on Wednesday unleashed a massive solar flare that has the potential to impact satellite communications and global positioning systems, the Centre of Excellence in Space Sciences India (CESSI) said.
This flare is classified as an X-Class, which denotes the most intense flare. The X2.2 class solar flare eruption took place at 3:57 UTC (9.27 IST) from the solar magnetic active region AR12992. “It erupted from a region beyond the southwest limb of the Sun,” according to US space weather forecasting site NOAA Space Weather.
“Strong ionospheric perturbation is ongoing over India, South East Asia and the Asia-Pacific regions. Expected high frequency communication blackouts, satellite anomalies, GPS scintillations, and airline communication impacts,” the CESSI said on Twitter.
Solar flares are powerful bursts of energy that can impact radio communications, electric power grids and navigation signals, and pose risks to spacecraft and astronauts. During a solar flare, the highly energetic charged particles are expelled from the Sun at speeds close to that of light. These rays can disturb the ionosphere region of the Earth, which plays an important role in radio communications, explains US space agency Nasa.
According to Nasa, the biggest flares are known as ‘X-Class flares’ based on a classification system that divides solar flares according to their strength. The smallest ones are A-Class (near background levels), followed by B, C, M and X.
Similar to the Richter scale for earthquakes, each letter represents a 10-fold increase in energy output. An X-Class flare is 10 times an M-Class eruption and 100 times a C-Class flare, it says.

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