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Solar Flare Activity Produces Radio Blackouts

Solar Flare Activity Goes High Order

Following months of quiet and negligible solar flares, new sunspot 2644 unleashed a series of M-class explosions on April 1 and 2. Each blast produced a shortwave radio blackout over different parts of the planet. The powerful explosions also sent beams of radio energy toward Earth.

The Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) reports that moderate radio blackouts reaching the R2 level occurred over the past 24 hours, and minor radio blackouts reaching R1 level are anticipated over the next 24 hours. Region 2644 produced a pair of R2 radio blackouts at 0802 UTC and 2033 UTC on April 2.

“Multiple coronal mass ejections (CMEs) associated with the solar flare activity originating from Region 2644 have been observed but are not expected to be earth-directed,” the SWPC said.

R2 is a limited blackout of HF radio communication on Earth’s sunlit side, and the loss of radio contact for tens of minutes. This also can degrade low-frequency navigation signals for tens of minutes, according to the SWPC. R1 means weak or minor degradation of HF radio communication on Earth’s sunlit side, with occasional loss of radio contact. Low-frequency navigation signals can be degraded for brief intervals.

The SWPC predicts a 60% chance of R1 or R2 radio blackouts over the next 24 hours.

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