China’s shortwave radio disrupted by solar flare

Posted by Dave Landis on February 17th, 2011 in China, East Asia | No Comments

largest solar flare in four years

NASA image of the largest solar flare since 2006.

According to China’s Xinhua News Agency, the  China Meteorological Administration (CMA) observed the largest solar flare in more than four years.  The solar flare created disruptions to shortwave radio communications in China.

CMA’s Space Weather Monitoring Center said  the solar flare  was a X2.2 class flare,  ejecting massive particles at 9:56 am Beijing Time.  X-class flares are the most powerful category of solar flares.  Flares are categorized as A, B, C, M or X, with each class having a peak 10 times greater than the previous one.

Triggered by enormous magnetic activity, solar flares create violent explosions in the sun’s atmosphere.  These flares generate tremendous levels of radiation which are able to disrupt radio communications by impacting the earth’s ionosphere.   If the activity is strong enough, it can even disrupt power transmission as it did in Canada in 1973.

The US space agency, NASA confirmed that solar flare was the largest in four years, and this week’s solar event will make it possible to see the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, as far south as New York and the United Kingdom.

These flares can wreak havoc.  In 1973 a magnetic storm caused by a solar eruption damaged a power grid, causing six million people to lose power in Canada’s eastern-central Quebec province.

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