Massive New Solar Flare Could Disrupt Communications, Scientists Warn

A major solar flare Tuesday could disrupt some communications, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned, following days of solar activity,

though Tuesday’s flare is unlikely to make for the dazzling Northern Lights show Americans were treated to over the weekend.

The sun released a solar flare rated an X8.7 on a scale of one to nine, NOAA said Tuesday afternoon, topping a group of solar flares over the past week.

Tuesday’s flare was the largest in the sun’s 11-year solar cycle, a phase of solar activity associated with the sun’s magnetic field

Those flares also triggered a radio burst, a phenomenon causing “significant radio noise” that can “cause interference for sensitive receivers including radar, GPS and satellite communications.”

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center warns the X8.7 flare could cause “temporary degradation or complete loss of signal” to high-frequency radio signals across the globe where the sun is actively shining,

though the flare is not expected to have any geomagnetic impacts on the planet, meaning stargazers will likely not see the Northern Lights as far south as they did over the weekend.

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