A major solar flare erupted from the Sun yesterday (October 29) in the strongest storm seen in the current weather cycle, and a “coronal mass ejection” from the flare could batter Earth over the Halloween weekend.
The Sun fired off an X1-class solar flare, the most powerful category of flares, which are measured using a similar classification system to earthquakes, and NASA officials dubbed it a “significant solar flare”. NASA reported an X28 back in 2003, though an X1 is still a major flare.
Space weather physicist Dr Tamitha Skov wrote on Twitter: “A direct hit for Halloween! The solar storm launched during the X-flare today is indeed Earth-directed!” She added that we could expect aurora sightings, amateur radio disruptions, and GPS reception issues. Which could make debuting your blocked Suez canal costume difficult at parties this weekend...
NASA said in a statement on Thursday that while “harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth’s atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, when intense enough, they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel”.
Occasionally, every one hundred years or so, solar winds can transform into a full solar storm, which could have significant consequences for modern life like an internet apocalypse.
POW! The Sun just served up a powerful flare! ☀️ 💥
At 11:35 a.m. EDT today, a powerful X1-class solar flare erupted from the Sun. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory caught it all on camera. 📸