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Massive solar flares threaten GPS
by Olga Yazhgunovich
Moscow (Voice of Russia) Jun 13, 2014

Solar flares may potentially offset power grids, disrupt communications, and harm astronauts in space.

The Sun has recently emitted two enormous and potentially harmful X-class flares during an active stage of its weather cycle, the Space Reporter wrote.

On Tuesday, the Sun emitted he so-called X-class flares, one of which might damage communication systems for up to an hour.

According to the US Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) such intense radiation could cause temporary radio communications blackouts on Earth.

Colorado-based SWPC noted that some areas on Earth are particularly vulnerable.

The "area of impact consists of large portions of the sunlit side of Earth, strongest at the sub-solar point," it said in a statement.

Solar flares may potentially offset power grids, disrupt communications, and harm astronauts in space.

To prevent such disasters, the Sun is under constant surveillance of NASA's STEREO probes and Solar Dynamic Observatory, along with US-Europeans SOHO spacecraft.

As observations show, the Sun is currently demonstrating peak activity in its Solar Cycle 24. NASA cameras have captured images of "significant" solar flares emitting from the sun this week.

However, the flares, which are powerful bursts of radiation that bring stuff from the sun like gases, plasma and other matters pose no harm to people, Karen Fox, of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center explained in a statement.

"Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation," Fox said. "Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground. However, when intense enough, they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel."


Related Links
US Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC)
Solar Science News at SpaceDaily

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Washington (UPI) Jun 11, 2013
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