Menu
'Significant' solar flare may affect communications, GPS on Wednesday

'Significant' solar flare may affect communications, GPS on Wednesday

Radiation emission could hit radios, power lines and satellites

The sun emitted what NASA is calling a "significant" solar flare on Saturday that could affect communications systems on Earth on Wednesday.

The National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center is calling the eruption a radio blackout event. The center reported that the solar flare could affect satellites and cause GPS errors. Electrical power lines could be hit by extra current, and high frequency communications could be blocked when the radiation hits Earth.

Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation, according to NASA, but the harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through the Earth's atmosphere to physically hurt humans. However, powerful flares can affect the Earth's atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communication signals travel.

NASA categorized Saturday's flare as an X1-class eruption. X-class solar flares are the most intense eruptions. The number adds more information about its strength. An X2, for instance, is twice as intense as an X1.

Last fOctober, the sun emitted a series of intense solar flares that caused radio blackouts and affected GPS systems.

Between October 23 and October 30, the sun emitted four X-class solar flares.

Scientists said they weren't surprised to see an increase in solar flares since the sun is approaching the peak of the its normal 11-year activity cycle.

The largest flare in this current cycle was emitted on Aug. 9, 2011. That flare was an X6.9.

Extreme ultraviolet light shoots out of an X-class solar flare on Saturday. The image was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. (Photo: NASA/SDO)

This article, 'Significant' solar flare may affect communications, GPS on Wednesday, was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

Read more about mobile/wireless in Computerworld's Mobile/Wireless Topic Center.

Subscribe here for up-to-date channel news

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Mobile/WirelessNASANetworkingwirelessNational Weather ServicemobileX1governmentGovernment/Industries

Featured

Slideshows

StorageCraft celebrates high achievers at its inaugural A/NZ Partner Awards

StorageCraft celebrates high achievers at its inaugural A/NZ Partner Awards

Revealed at a glitzy bash in Sydney at the Ivy Penthouse, the first StorageCraft Partner Awards locally saw the vendor honour its top-performing partners with ASI Solutions, SMBiT Pro, Webroot, ACA Pacific and Soft Solutions New Zealand taking home the top awards. Photos by Maria Stefina.

StorageCraft celebrates high achievers at its inaugural A/NZ Partner Awards
Kiwi resellers make a splash on Synnex and Lenovo RotoVegas road trip

Kiwi resellers make a splash on Synnex and Lenovo RotoVegas road trip

​Synnex and Lenovo hosted 18 resellers for an action-packed weekend adventure in RotoVegas, taking in white water rafting on the Kaituna River, as well as quad biking and dinner at Stratosfare​, overlooking Lake Rotorua at the top of Mount Ngongotaha​. Photos by Synnex.

Kiwi resellers make a splash on Synnex and Lenovo RotoVegas road trip
Show Comments