Solar Flares Disrupt Communications on Earth, Could Send Shockwave on Friday the 13th

Jun 11, 2014 4:34pm

The sun has had three major solar flares on its surface in the past two days that have affected communications on Earth and could send a shockwave through Earth this Friday, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The “solar events” caused brief blackouts in high frequency communications when they struck, twice on Tuesday morning and once this morning, all between the hours of 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. EDT.

HT solar flare triptych jtm 140611 16x9 608 Solar Flares Disrupt Communications on Earth, Could Send Shockwave on Friday the 13th

Three X-class flares erupted from the left side of the sun; the first two from left occurred June 10, 2014, and the last occurred June 11, 2014. (Goddard/SDO/NASA)

Solar flares are bursts of radiation on the sun’s surface. The disturbance to Earth’s atmosphere can disrupt GPS and communications signals, according to NASA.

One of the flares created a “coronal mass ejection” that actually could come into contact with Earth on Friday, according to NOAA. The ejection is essentially a huge cloud of plasma that could hit the Earth and cause a shock wave, affecting communications systems. If an ejection were to hit Earth on Friday, scientists expect it would only cause a minor geo-magnetic storm, according to NOAA.

The flares were observed by NASA, which posted stunning photos and videos of the events on its website.

HT solar flare jtm 140611 16x9 608 Solar Flares Disrupt Communications on Earth, Could Send Shockwave on Friday the 13th

A solar flare erupts on the surface of the sun, June 10, 2014. (Goddard/SDO/NASA)

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