Massive solar flare knocks out radio communications

A massive set of solar flares have exploded from the sun in recent days, as the sun works to put on the best show of 2014 and the best show of the “active season” for the massive star that centers our universe. The massive solar flares that have been putting on a Chrsimtas show, have been launching powerful rays into the sun for nearly 48 hours. The most-extreme has even rendered some radio communications useless. The powerful flares are expected to continue through the New Year holiday, and then slowly subside.

The powerful flares were captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamic Observatory and is continuing to track the movements on the surface and outer atmosphere of the sun. NASA will continue monitoring the sun through the New Year, to ensure that further damage cannot be done by these massive solar flares.

Solar Flare

The most powerful solar flare to date – this month was the X1.8-class solar flare that was noted and documented on the 19th of December. NASA describes a solar flare as “a sudden, rapid, and intense variation in brightness. A solar flare occurs when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere is suddenly released. Radiation is emitted across virtually the entire electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves at the long wavelength end, through optical emission to x-rays and gamma rays at the short wavelength end.”

And they go on to point out that they are powerful. Very powerful, in fact, pointing out that “The amount of energy released is the equivalent of millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding at the same time!”

The solar flare that peaked around 7:28pm on Friday, on the East Coast, originated from the area on the sun known as Active Region 2242. They went on to point out that more storms are likely expected from this region. The scientists evaluating the storm pointed out that throughout this week, massive and complex radio communication outages are entirely possible as similar solar flares from the same region are a definite possibility.

Overall, this is a worry for NASA scientists but nothing that Earth hadn’t prepared for to this point. It would be expected that more storms could cause nuisance problems here on Earth – but nothing catastrophic. Furthermore, it’s expected that the flares should slowly subside in the coming months.