When was biggest solar flare recorded on Earth? NASA answers

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When was biggest solar flare recorded on Earth? NASA answers (Image: Pixabay)
When was biggest solar flare recorded on Earth? NASA answers (Image: Pixabay)

New Delhi : Solar flares erupting from Sun are not new things and it happens from time to time with Earth experiencing it on several occasions. One happened recently, and it was said that it may disrupt the GPS signals as well, which did not happen. The question that kicks our mind is when was the biggest solar flare on record and what was its impact on Earth?

NASA answers this question and mentions that On April 2, 2001, at 4:51 p.m. EDT, the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) satellite observed the biggest ever solar flare on record. It was way more powerful than the one recorded on March 6, 1989, which caused the disruption of electricity grids in Canada.

What are solar flares?

For those who do not know clearly what a solar flare is, these are tremendous explosions in the atmosphere of the Sun which are capable of releasing as much energy as a billion megatons of TNT. The sudden eruption of magnetic energy can accelerate solar particles to move almost at the speed of light, having a temperature of tens of millions of degrees.

Biggest Solar Flare

According to the SOHO mission, a collab between NASA and the European Space Agency, the biggest solar flare ever was ejected from the active region near the Sun's northwest, which threw up solar particles at a massive speed of roughly 7.2 million kilometres per hour. Since it is the biggest on record, it had the potential to do massive destruction but fortunately, it was not directed towards the earth.

Although it missed the Earth, the largest solar flare ever caused an R4 radio blackout. Rated by the NOAA SEC, an R4 radio blackout is the second most severe classification after R5 blackout, NASA said.

It must be noted that powerful solar flares are capable enough of disrupting the internet services on Earth. While the cables will be unaffected, it is the connectors that will cease working thereby disrupting the Internet.