An X-9.3 solar flare exploded from sunspot AR 2673 at 1202 UT today, blacking out shortwave over Europe, Africa and the Atlantic Ocean as X-rays and UV radiation ionized Earth’s upper atmosphere. The explosion also generated a coronal mass ejection. It is still being modeled by NOAA to determine whether or not it is Earth-directed. According to SpaceWeather.com, this flare ranks as the #14th strongest since 1976.

The largest of the cores of Sunspot AR 2763 is big enough to swallow planet Earth.

NOAA scientists have concluded that four factors determined global temperatures: carbon dioxide levels, volcanic eruptions, Pacific El Niño pattern, and solar activity. The arrival of a single coronal mass ejection would not be expected to cause any radical weather shifts on Earth, but long-term solar cycles do affect our climate. For the past 10 years, the sun has been relatively quiet, and the absence of solar storms has meant that Earth has experienced some global cooling as a result.