2 powerful flares erupt from sun; cell phone outages are reported in US (video)

February 23, 2024  12:03

Two powerful flares took place on the Sun, after which mobile communication outages were recorded in the United States. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the flares occurred in the part of the Sun that has recently continued to show magnetic activity.

The outbursts took place from Wednesday night to Thursday morning, with an interval of several hours. The first was a class X1.8 flare, the second was a class X1.7 flare.

"No apparent coronal mass ejections from these events have been observed at the time of this announcement, although it has not been ruled out," the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said in a statement.

The agency later issued a warning about solar radio emissions, which are sometimes accompanied by strong coronal mass ejections and solar radiation storms.

Meanwhile, widespread cellphone outages were reported across the U.S. after Thursday morning's solar flares. According to The Associated Press, tens of thousands of outages have been reported by major cellular carriers such as AT&T, Verzion and T-Mobile.

It is not yet clear if the two events are related, but reports of outages began at the same time as the solar flares. However, some scientists have questioned claims that there is a link between the two events.

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The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also noted that the effects of these flares could be felt for several days. Although the magnetic storm caused by the ejected material is expected to bypass the Earth, it is still possible to feel its effects on the Earth on February 25.

Solar flares occur when magnetic energy builds up in the sun's atmosphere before the star engulfs that build-up in an intense burst of electromagnetic radiation. These flares are classified by size into groups, with X-class flares being the most powerful. After X class are M class flares, which are 10 times smaller than X class flares. Then there are class C and B flares, followed by class A flares, which are extremely weak and have no effect on Earth.

The sun's activity is currently increasing as it approaches the most active phase of its nearly 11-year solar cycle, known as "solar maximum."

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