Solar Flare – On Tuesday evening, the largest flare seen in the Sun’s current activity cycle could soon effect electronics when it reaches Earth. Joe Kunches, a space scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center, called it a “Super Tuesday” of other sorts.
At around 7:34 p.m. EST, one flare with a X5.4 rating was followed by another one an hour later rated as a X1.3. Of the letter ratings given, X is the highest with a number of 1-9 ranking following the letter to determine the strength of that letter rating.
Though a 1-9 number rating is used, the number can go higher then 9. In 2003 the strongest flare ever recorded was an X28. Solar flares are what cause the “Aurora Borealis” light show in night skies in the northern most parts of the planet.
The problem with solar flares is they throw of electronically charged particles that wash over our planet. The particles from the latest blast are excepted to hit the planet late Wednesday or Early Thursday.
Scientist say that not only will the Aurura be more visible to some more lower states in the US, that ordinarily can not see it, the super charged particles could trigger a radio blackout for some. “Such a storm is mainly a nuisance to satellites, causing occasional reboots of onboard computers and adding noise to imaging systems,” SpaceWeather.com’s Tony Phillips said.
Some airlines may also need to be re-routed during the period to avoid communications and GPS interruptions. The experts at SpaceWeather.com say luckily the planet will not take a more serious direct hit from the flare but rather a glancing blow.