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Strong solar eruption may interfere with radio systems

GOES Solar X-ray Image

GOES Solar X-ray Image

By Hawaii 24/7 Staff

The National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center reports that a Radio Blackout is now in progress, beginning about 2 p.m. HST today (March 6) due to a strong solar eruption. This solar flare is one of the largest solar flares of the current solar cycle.

The site of the eruption, previously active Region 1429, is now near center disk, so there’s high-potential of an earth-directed Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). In addition, expect the imminent beginning of a Solar Radiation Storm. Analysis now occurring on both fronts, watch the Space Weather Prediction Center for updates. More flares can be expected this week.

Category
Scale: R3
Descriptor: Strong
Duration of event will influence severity of effects
HF Radio: Wide area blackout of HF radio communication, loss of radio contact for about an hour on sunlit side of Earth.

Navigation: Low-frequency navigation signals degraded for about an hour.

UPDATE 3/6/12 4 p.m. HST

The Scale of the Radio Blackout is now at R 1 level which is described as minor.

  • HF Radio: Weak or minor degradation of HF radio communication on sunlit side, occasional loss of radio contact.
  • Navigation: Low-frequency navigation signals degraded for brief intervals.

UPDATED (3/6/2012 at 9:59 p.m. HST)

From the SWPC website:

2012-03-07 04:24 CMEs: One Arrives, Another Likely Tomorrow

The CME that erupted late on March 4 passed ACE around 0400 UTC March 7 (11:00 p.m. EST March 6). Look for G1 (minor) Geomagnetic Storm activity in the next few hours. Another CME, part of the recent R3 (strong) Radio Blackout event at 0024 UTC March 7 (7:24 p.m. EST March 6) is forecast to pass ACE about one day hence. Predictions are still being refined on this one. Finally a Solar Radiation Storm is now building as the higher energies are showing a response to the recent eruption. The S1 (minor) threshold should be surpassed in the next few hours. Updates here as conditions warrant.

Photo courtesy of NASA/SDO/AIA

Image acquired March 5, 2012 Photo courtesy of NASA/SDO/AIA

Photo courtesy of NASA/SDO/AIA

Image acquired March 7, 2012 Photo courtesy of NASA/SDO/AIA

Space Weather Prediction Center image shows the effects of solar flares on the ionosphere, thus affecting communications.

Space Weather Prediction Center image shows the effects of solar flares on the ionosphere, thus affecting communications.

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