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Solar storm sparks blackouts in Asia and Australia as earth hit by major solar flare

Days after being caught in the middle of a geomagnetic storm, the Earth was once again struck by a major solar flare on Sunday, which caused a strong shortwave radio blackout over southeast Asia and Australia. According to the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), which is overseen by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the solar flare peaked late at 03: 34 am GMT on April 17, and was soon followed by a massive sun eruption known as a coronal mass ejection (CME).

One of the most powerful forms of a solar storm, a CME occurs when the Sun belches out a cloud of charged particles and electromagnetic fluctuations.

SWPC officials registered the flare as an X1.1-class sun storm, which lasted for about 34 minuted, (X-class storms are the most powerful ones on the sun) and lasted about 34 minutes, SWPC officials said.

X class storms are regarded as the most powerful solar storms to erupt from the Sun, and the SWPC noted that this one originated from Regions 2994 and 2993, which is a cluster of active sunspots that has seen “significant flaring” since it appeared on the eastern limb of the sun.

The agency wrote: “Solar activity is expected to be active over the next week as these sunspots migrate across the visible disk.”

They also noted that the Easter solar flare had resulted in a brief radio blackout and was classified as a Type II solar radio burst.

According to spaceweather.com, the sunspot complex AR2993-94, which produced the X1-class solar flare on April 17, may just be the beginning, with another potentially large spot right behind it.

The observers said: “This sunspot group has been active for more than a week, hurling CMEs and plumes of plasma into space from its location on the far side of the sun.

“Now it is turning to face Earth and shows no signs of slowing down.”

READ MORE: Solar storm warning: ‘Radiation risk’ as ‘major’ event rocks Earth



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