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Solar flares may disrupt satellite navigation


Bright and dark regions of the Sun in this solar X-ray image help researchers at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center understand what sort of storms the Sun is sending toward Earth. Photo by NOAA

WASHINGTON (BNS): Communications systems and satellites, including power grids, are likely to be affected as the "coronal mass ejections" slam into the Earth's magnetic shield, reports said.

The blast of charged particles unleashed from the Sun earlier this week has been peppering the Earth over the last few days, but it's biggest punch is expected to hit the Earth's atmosphere on Friday, according to reports.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said that three coronal mass ejections (CMEs) were en route as the result of solar flares on the 13, 14 and 15 February (GMT).

Solar flares can disrupt power grids, interfere with high-frequency airline and military communications, disrupt Global Positioning System (GPS) signals, interrupt civilian communications, and blanket the Earth’s upper atmosphere with hazardous radiation.

Meanwhile, China Meteorological Administration (CMA) has reported that the powerful solar flares have affected shortwave radio communications in southern China. A large solar flare accompanied by electromagnetic storms has affected the network, it said.

The eruption on Monday, considered an X-class flare, is reported to be the biggest solar flare in four years. "X-class flares are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms," NASA said.

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