Where did you think I went?
The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare on Thursday from a sunspot known as AR 1520, according to a NASA report. The solar flare began at 1:13 a.m. EDT and peaked at 1:58 a.m. The space agency notes that solar flares are “gigantic bursts of radiation” that are harmless to humans because they can’t pass through Earth’s atmosphere.
However, strong solar flares, like an X-class flare, can disrupt the atmosphere and cause radio blackouts. An X-class solar flare erupted from the sun on July 12, according to a Space.com report. The X-class solar flare erupted from the same region as last Thursday’s mid-level solar flare.
U.S. News & World Reports notes that the X-class solar flare was strong enough to black out NOAA radio. It was the sixth X-class flare of 2012. Citing NASA scientists Phillip Chamberlain, the article says that strong solar flares will continue through the beginning of 2014 as the sun enters the most active period of its eight-year solar cycle.
Radio blackouts can also occur with mid-level solar flares.