Sun's strongest solar flare in years knocks out radio frequencies
Why it matters: These powerful bursts of energy "can impact radio communications, electric power grids, navigation signals, and pose risks to spacecraft and astronauts," per a NASA statement. Radio frequency blackouts were reported across the U.S. after this one.
- Although rare, these large bursts of plasma from the Sun, known as extreme coronal mass ejections (CME), could cause a months-long blackout on Earth, billions of dollars in damage and harm satellites.
- A Lancaster University study published Monday found these solar storms can also cause errors on railways, switching train signals from red to green in "the worst case scenario."
- NOAA scientists determined Thursday's X-class flare as not only the largest of the current Solar Cycle 25, but also the biggest since September 2017.
- CMEs can supercharge the auroras and this event has raised the possibility of people in New England seeing the northern lights, CBS News reports.