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Business News/ Science / News/  Solar flare temporarily disrupts radio signals in Australia
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Solar flare temporarily disrupts radio signals in Australia

The extreme ultraviolet radiation from the solar flare ionised the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere and caused a shortwave radio blackout across Australia.

Maximum sunspot activity is predicted for 2025. Photo: X (formerly twitter)Premium
Maximum sunspot activity is predicted for 2025. Photo: X (formerly twitter)

An intense solar event occurred in the early hours of February 6, as a sunspot unleashed a powerful M4-class solar explosion, according to a report by Indiatoday.in.

“This significant solar activity sent a hot plume of plasma hurtling through the sun's atmosphere at speeds exceeding 1,440,000 kilometers per hour, culminating in the formation of a coronal mass ejection (CME)," said the report.

The extreme ultraviolet radiation from the solar flare ionised the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere and caused a shortwave radio blackout across Australia.

Following the solar flare’s peak intensity, ham radio users and maritime operators experienced signal loss below 30 megahertz for up to an hour.

According to the report, the coronal mass ejection was not observed in the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) coronagraphs, but evidence of its existence was provided by the US Air Force. It reported a type-II radio burst. 

The sunspot AR3575 is characterised by a complex beta-gamma-delta magnetic field configuration. It suggests the potential for even more powerful X-class solar flares.

The phenomenon also indicates shock waves at the forefront of the coronal mass ejection and raises questions about potential impacts on Earth.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters, there is a 25 per cent chance that such an event can occur on the same day.

The sun is nearing the peak of its 11-year or so solar cycle. Maximum sunspot activity is predicted for 2025.

Earlier in December 2023, a NASA telescope had captured the biggest solar flare in years, temporarily knocking out radio communication on Earth.

The sun emitted a huge flare along with a massive radio burst, causing two hours of radio interference in parts of the US and other sunlit parts of the world.

According to scientists at the NOAA, it was the biggest flare since 2017, and the radio burst was extensive, affecting even the higher frequencies. 

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 06 Feb 2024, 04:13 PM IST
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