NASA is reporting that a massive solar flare erupted from the Sun Tuesday, January 7. The solar flare is associate with one of the largest sunspot groups seen on the Sun’s surface in a decade! The sunspot is currently in the middle of the Sun as seen from earth. NASA officials say it is as wide as seven Earths!
“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,” NOAA said in a written statement.
An unmanned resupply cargo rocket that was to have been launched to the International Space Station on Wednesday was postponed until at least Thursday because of the potential radiation danger.
The sun is at the peak of a weak 11-year storm cycle.
Some passenger jets were being diverted from the poles to avoid potential communication and health issues as the intensity of the solar storm was increased from “moderate” to “strong.” GPS devices also were at risk.
But the six men aboard the space station were safe from the solar fallout, NASA said, and satellites also faced no threat. The Cygnus cargo ship aboard the rocket, for example, is built to withstand radiation from solar flare-ups.