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One of the largest solar flares ever recorded knocks out radio, could be headed for Earth
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One of the largest solar flares ever recorded knocks out radio, could be headed for Earth

Scientists have warned that the largest solar flare in six years could be headed for Earth in a matter of days. This comes after the flare blanked radio frequencies, including a major radio blackout in South America.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently reported that the solar flare "is likely one of the largest solar radio events ever recorded." The flare is caused by explosions on the surface of the sun, which then expand outward and spew bursts of electromagnetic radiation.

The New York Post reported that the solar flare occurred on Thursday after a sunspot known as AR 3514 erupted with a class X.28 solar flare — the largest variety of flare that our sun is capable of producing. The report went on to say that the flare was the largest the star has generated since 2017.

The flare had far-reaching consequences, including a massive radio blackout in South America. There was also a total loss of radio signals for several hours, but they were eventually recovered.

The U.S. experienced shortwave radio blackouts, too.

However, it appears that the solar flare was just one part of the ominous activity on the surface of the sun. Our star also produced what is known as a coronal mass ejection, which is a cloud-like explosion of plasma that could be headed for Earth, according to scientists researching the activity.

If scientists are correct in their prediction, our planet could experience a geomagnetic storm no later than December 17. The phenomena could wreak havoc on satellites and ultimately lead to a blackout on Earth that could cost billions of dollars, according to the Post.

A recent study even suggested that the geomagnetic storm could adversely disrupt railway systems, turning train signals from red to green. However, there is no confirmation that this will happen.

Scientists appear to be in agreement that this particular storm will likely be minor, causing fluctuations in the power grid and potential disruptions to radio communications.

On the flip side, CBS News reported that the flare could make the Northern Lights visible for those living in the northern U.S. However, it is not guaranteed that such lights will be seen, as this light phenomena has generally been seen with M-class ejections, which are milder than the one that recently occurred.

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