HOUSTON – An eruption on the sun has caused the release of a catastrophic Class X flare – and it’s heading for Earth.
Solar activity has picked up considerably in the last few months. NASA has reported that a solar flash was emitted from a large sun spot early on Sunday morning. It is the strongest solar flare ever released and is heading for Earth.
Fritz Barnkopf, lead forecaster with the National Space Weather Prediction Center, said this solar outburst will wreak havoc with earthly communications.
“Most satellites will be out of commission by April,” said Barnkopf. “It will have a devastating effect on countries around the world.”
The mega flare, which registered as a Class X flare on the scale of solar flares, was the first class X flare to occur in the new solar cycle of activity, which began last year. The sun is now ramping up toward a solar maximum around 2013 – if the planet survives. that long.
“It is the largest flare ever recorded,” said Charles Bench, project scientist for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which observed the flare. “There were some clues that led us to believe the likelihood of moderate to large flares (M class or above) could occur, but we were all surprised when it actually happened to be a large X-class.”
The Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft recorded the image depicted here. The sun spot, clearly visible in the center of the sun, sent out the strongest flare in four years.
Astronomy has said that the matter sent out by the flash has not yet reached the Earth’s magnetic field but they expect it to over the next few days.
“What will happen is if people look to the north in the night sky, they might be able to see greenish clouds,” said Bench. “Soon after they will all communication capabilities.”
The U.N. has issued a worldwide, geomagnetic storm alert. The flare will result in substantial problems for power supplies around the world.
Better use your smartphones while you still can… and get that landline ready.