BOULDER, Colo. (UPI) — A powerful solar flare was emitted from the sun early Tuesday, the latest of many as the sun approaches the peak of its activity cycle, U.S. scientists said.
The Space Weather Prediction Center of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration said the flare, although not pointed directly at Earth when it erupted, was the cause of a radio blackout at 5:26 a.m. EST.
Erupting from an active sunspot region, it may have produced a coronal mass ejection, an explosion of plasma particles that can cause problems for satellites and Earth communications, experts told SPACE.com.
“This impulsive flare may have an associated CME, but early indications are it will not have a significant impact on the geomagnetic field,” experts at the space weather center said.
With the sun currently approaching the peak of its solar cycle, more flares are expected, they said.
“Increased numbers of flares are quite common at the moment, since the sun’s normal 11-year activity cycle is ramping up toward solar maximum conditions,” NASA officials said. “Humans have tracked this solar cycle continuously since it was discovered in 1843, and it is normal for there to be many flares a day during the sun’s peak activity.”
Earlier this month a different active sunspot region produced the most powerful solar flare of 2013.