The sun’s solar flare activity appears to be hotting up: a massive X-Class solar flare erupted early on Sunday (Oct. 19) from a huge sunspot, and astronomers fear that this could just be the beginning of a spate of sizeable flares.

Solar flares are explosions of energetic radiation that can have potentially devastating effects on our communication systems, causing radio blackouts and affecting satellite measurements. Flares are categorised into three types, with grade C being the least powerful, grade M a medium-level flare, and grade X being the most powerful of all. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft captured images of the latest huge flare which was classified as a formidable X1.1.
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The world’s media has been awash recently with news of a cosmic near-miss a couple of years ago that could have spelled disaster for planet Earth.

Physicists have released details of a solar storm that occurred on July 23rd, 2012, along with the disturbing fact that, had the storm occurred just one week earlier, Earth would have been directly in the line of fire.

“I have come away from our recent studies more convinced than ever that Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did,” physicist Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado said in a NASA Science online release. “If the eruption had occurred only one week earlier, Earth would have been in the line of fire.”
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A second huge power outage across India left 600 million people sweltering in the dark. Gigantic traffic jams, stalled railway trains, closed airports and a general failure of infrastructure services have followed in the wake of what is now the largest power failure in history. Power is being restored across the country at this time.

The outages are being caused by heavy use of electricity due to very high regional temperatures and the ongoing failure of the monsoon, which normally brings wetter and cooler weather to the region at this time of year.
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