NASA: Sun unleashes sizable solar flare

2:49 PM, Oct 23, 2012   |    comments
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The sun released a sizable solar flare on Monday, NASA scientists report. Some radio blackouts resulted on Earth , but no solar storm appears headed toward Earth because of the flare.

The outburst is the latest and largest one to emerge from an active outburst region on the sun, which is on the strengthening stage of its roughly 11-year solar storm cycle.

The flare measures as an X1.8 magnitude outburst on the NASA solar-flare scale, where X-class storms are the most intense and can trigger radio blackouts and Global Positioning Satellite signal outages.

"Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel," says a NASA statement on the flare.

By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

Gannett/USA Today

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