SA space agency: Massive solar flare could affect DStv and cellphones

NASA recorded two strong solar flares the morning of Sept. 6

NASA recorded two strong solar flares the morning of Sept. 6

Meanwhile, NASA managed to capture spectacular images of the two significant solar flares emitted earlier this week on the Sun.

According to NASA, the solar flare received the X-Class category, which is where the most powerful sun-storms are recorded.

These flares come as the Sun is weakening in its 11 year cycle, and X9.3 is especially intense as solar activity approaches its minimum. These radiation flares, which can disrupt communications satellites, Global Positioning System and power grids by reaching the upper Earth atmosphere, were detected and captured by the US Space Agency's Solar Dynamics Observatory. That flare was the strongest since 2015, at X2.2, but it was dwarfed just 3 hours later, at 8:02 a.m. EDT (1202 GMT), by an X9.3 flare, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The two eruptions occurred in an active region of the sun where an eruption of average intensity occurred on September 4. At the end of the active phase, these eruptions become increasingly rare but can still be powerful.

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Solar flares are classified according to strength using the letters A, B, C, M and X. These are formed when the magnetic field present in the Sun's interior gets deformed, resulting in release of a huge amount of energy into the cosmos. A-class flares are the smallest explosions. Sansa said the initial burst of radiation from the solar flares was so intense, it caused high frequency radio blackouts across the daytime side of Earth affecting HF communication over Africa, Europe and the Atlantic Ocean.

Sansa said the storms did not pose a danger to humans. X-class solar flares can cause radiation storms in Earth's upper atmosphere and trigger radio blackouts, as happened earlier this morning.

But it can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where Global Positioning System and communications signals travel, something that NASA said was felt as a high-frequency radio blackout, that lasted for about an hour on Wednesday. "We're not having X-flares every day for a week, for instance - the activity is less frequent, but no less potentially strong".

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