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Powerful solar storm pummels earth with dangerous radiation

CANBERRA: A powerful solar storm erupted from the surface of the sun, causing possible disruptions to satellite navigation and other essential services.

According to NASA and the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Centre, a mid-level solar flare reached its peak on June 23, pummeling the Earth with dangerous levels of radiation.

While the Earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field protects those living on the Earth’s surface, the radiation may be hazardous to satellites in orbit.

In the last 24 hours, solar activity peaked at ‘G4’ on the geomagnetic space weather scale provided by NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Centre, which has the potential to knock out navigation satellites for a period of hours, as well as cause other satellites to temporarily malfunction.

Caused by the intense radiation burst of a solar flare on the Sun, a solar storm can disturb the atmospheric layer where GPS (Global Positioning Systems) signals broadcast, leading to communications disruptions. The storm’s electromagnetic radiation can also cause electrical transformers to blow, leading to power cuts.

Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory captured an image of the event, and said it was an M-class 6.6 flare, which is about a tenth the size of the most intense flares, the X-class.

A G4 geomagnetic storm also has the potential for “possible widespread voltage control problems” for power grids on the ground.

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