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Dramatic Solar Flare Could Mess With Things

It unleashed biggest firestorm of radiation in 5 years
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 8, 2011 10:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – The sun let loose a fiery explosion yesterday that could mess with GPS and communication satellites, power grids, and more, the National Weather Service warned today. “This one was rather dramatic,” an official from the NWS’ Space Weather Prediction Center tells the Telegraph. "We saw the initial flare occurring and it wasn't that big, but then the eruption associated with it—we got energy particle radiation flowing in and we got a big coronal mass injection." The solar flare peaked at 1:41am.

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This explosion released the biggest burst of radiation since 2006, reports the AFP. NASA says the burst of particles appeared to rain down over “almost half the solar surface,” but since the blast wasn’t pointed at Earth, they’re expecting a “fairly small” impact here. "We don't expect it to be any kind of a real severe" geomagnetic storm, "but it could be kind of a moderate level storm," says the NWS official. Still, over the next 12-24 hours we may see some satellite disruptions, and some flights may be re-routed away from the polar regions. “It will just have to be managed,” he adds. (Read more solar flare stories.)

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