Thursday, May 17, 2012

Monster Sunspot's Flare Strong Enough to Confuse Satellites

The flare triggered a radiation storm intense enough to also cause radio blackouts.

Thu May 17, 2012 06:24 PM ET
Content provided by Mike Wall,
  • The monster sunspot complex AR 1476 stretches about 60,000 miles from end to end.
  • The flare spawned a class s2 solar radiation storm around Earth.
space Sunspot AR 1476 compared to the size of Jupiter. Click to enlarge this image.
SDO/NASA (via Twitter @Camilla_SDO)

An enormous sunspot unleashed a powerful solar flare late Wednesday (May 16), triggering a radiation storm intense enough to interfere with some satellites orbiting Earth, space weather experts said.
The flare erupted from monster sunspot complex AR 1476, which stretches about 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers) from end to end, at 9:47 p.m. EDT Wednesday (0147 GMT Thursday). The flare spawned a class S2 solar radiation storm around our planet, according to the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), a branch of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Adminstration.


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