Three solar flares in the past 48 hours let forth a giant spray of particles from Earth’s sun. There is a risk that the particles will KO a large number of the planet’s satellites and communication systems.
A ‘coronal mass ejection’ (CME), a huge cloud of irradiated particles and a magnetic shockwave, could strike on Friday.
The flares already caused brief disruptions to high frequency communications, such as radio broadcasts and aircraft communications, disrupting military radio and aircraft control towers.
The X-grade solar flares were on Tuesday morning at 7.42am and 8.52am – X being the most powerful kind of solar flare – and a third X-class flare early yesterday.
The magnetic shockwave could hit Earth on Friday, potentially knocking out mobile phone satellites and GPS
Because the last major CME happened before the planet was dependent on electronics for our day-to-day lives, little is known about what the real impact would be.
But it is likely that large electronics would be badly affected, causing weeks or months of disruptions to power supplies, phone networks and the internet which could cost billions to repair.
Small electronics, such as mobile phones and computers, would likely be unaffected, but would be rendered almost useless with large networks knocked out.
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