A large solar flare created a radio blackout event yesterday with geomagnetic storms headed for Earth later this week, according to space weather forecasters.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Centre (NOAA (SWPC) said the flare peaked at M9.8 and caused a “moderate” HF Radio Blackout Event that occurred on November 28.
Much of the eastern portion of the South Pacific Ocean was affected by the flare.
Solar flares are measured in five categories with M-class and X-class being the strongest. An X-class flare can release as much energy as 1 billion atom bombs, according to NASA.
In addition, the flare was associated with a coronal mass ejection that could cause geomagnetic storms when it collides with Earth, according to NOAA SWPC.
The solar storms that erupted from the sun on Sunday sent clouds of plasma hurtling towards Earth which can take one to three days to hit the atmosphere.
The multiple ejections have the ability to produce back-to-back solar storms. Forecasters believe the first particles could hit Wednesday evening as a “potential glancing blow” or “near-Earth” solar event.
The ejections will hit with “at least glancing blows” by Thursday, according to forecasters.
NOAA has a five-point scale for rating solar storms from G1 to G5. Storms on Wednesday are predicted to be G1 while those on Thursday could reach G2 levels.
Stronger storms can affect satellite navigation and low-frequency radio navigation but most don’t have much of an impact on the general public.
However, solar storms can increase the chance of seeing the aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights, further away from the North Pole.