NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory warned Thursday of a "significant solar flare" event.
The powerful burst of energy from the Sun, classified as an M5.5 class flare, sparked radio blackouts across the Indian Ocean.
Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare can't pass through Earth’s atmosphere to affect humans on the ground, however – when intense enough – they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS & communications signals travel.— NASA Sun & Space (@NASASun) January 20, 2022
"The Sun emitted a mid-level solar flare on January 20, 2022, peaking at 1:01 am EST," NASA said. Thursday's eruption has been classified as an M class, which is medium-sized and leads to radio blackouts. The eruption of electromagnetic radiation from the Sun can be seen below.
According to spaceweather.com, a shortwave radio blackout across the Indian Ocean has been reported. "Aviators, mariners, and ham radio operators in the area may have noticed unusual propagation effects at frequencies below 30 MHz," it said.
We noted last year that Solar Cycle 25 has begun and could result in a flare-up in space weather activity.
In 2017, FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) planned for a massive solar event that would be strong enough to take down the power grids.
There has also been a couple of notable solar flare events in the last several years:
- Huge Solar Flare Sparks Widespread Blackouts, May Deter Korean Missile Launch This Weekend
- NASA: "Sun Erupts With Significant Flare"
A new active solar cycle could present danger to the digital economy that has become more reliant than ever on space-based and ground-based communication systems that could be prone to disruption during increasing solar activity bombarding the Earth's ionosphere.