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Earth in the Sun’s Crosshairs, Could Knock Out High Tech


The sun has taken aim at Earth and delivered what could be a knock-out blow to modern technology.

On Wednesday a massive solar flare was detected and blasted radiation toward Earth. However, the resultant Coronal Mass Ejection or CME is expected to hit the home planet on Friday.

“Solar activity is moderate with background X-ray flux at C-class levels. Geomagnetic conditions are at unsettled levels. Local HF working frequencies are highly elevated compared to monthly average predicted values,” said the Southern African National Space Agency

The agency operates a space weather observatory at Hermanus in the Western Cape where activity of the sun and the performance of the Earth’s magnetic field is observed.

Two X-class and two C-class solar flares and were observed and while not unprecedented, they come against a background of fairly stable and muted solar activity.

Sensitive electronics

Astronomers generally recognise three major categories of solar flares.

X-class flares are big and are major events that can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts. M-class flares are medium-sized; they can cause brief radio blackouts that affect Earth’s polar regions. C-class flares are small with few noticeable consequences here on Earth.

The current CME is scheduled to hit the Earth on Friday and South Africans should avoid being exposed directly to the sun and not panic.

Read the full article at Fin24


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