Radio Blackout Could be Caused by Recurring Solar Flares

224332-flareScientists have warned that a recurrence of the solar flare that appeared last week could cause further radio blackouts over the coming days to aviation and communications systems. The solar flare was captured on video by the NASA Solar Dynamics Observatory on Saturday.

The intense bursts of radiation that solar flares emit, although not causing damage to the Earth, can affect communications as they disturb the layer of the atmosphere that carry signals.

“Though people on the ground will not be affected, satellite systems may be affected and this would likely have an effect on the aviation and communication systems for a while. This may last for up to a few hours,” said Dr Mayank Vahia, cosmic rays scientist at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.

As the Sun is at is peak of an 11-year cycle, it had been warned by the Indian Centre for Space Physics that there could be ‘dire consequences’ to the satellite systems around the planet, depending upon where they are positioned at the time of the activity.

Suhas Naik-Satam, programme co-ordinator (scientific) at the Nehru Planetarium in Mumbai, said, “The effect on the satellite system cannot be ruled out and therefore all sectors heavily dependent on such communications systems will have to stay alert.”

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