A powerful solar flare that erupted Thursday (Nov. 3) from a huge blemish on the sun’s surface has been classified as an X1.9 flare, ranking it in among the most powerful types of storms from our star can unleash.
The flare originated in a humongous sunspot that was sighted earlier this week, which ranks as one of the largest sunspots seen in years. The event began at 4:27 p.m. ET (2027 GMT).
The flare “triggered some disruption to radio communications on Earth beginning about 45 minutes later,” NASA officials wrote in a statement. “Scientists are continuing to watch this active region as it could well produce additional solar activity as it passes across the front of the sun.”
The 1859 Carrington Event was a solar electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that is the inspiration for my book, and it came from an event just like the one that happened less than 48 hours ago.
What I find fascinating about Thursday’s eruption is that even though scientists saw it and recognized its power immediately, the rest of us were oblivious to it. The flare was ignored by the media, and I’m going to note that in my book. When we get hit – and at this point, I’m not sure if I’m referring to the real world, my fictional world, or both – the simple fact of the matter is that the vast majority of us will have no idea that anything was coming.
That is more than a little bit unsettling.