Thursday, December 14, 2006

Solar flare disrupts shortwave reception

Streams of electrically charged atomic particles from the sun caused widespread disruption of shortwave radio communications in China on Wednesday morning. The phenomenon, known as solar flare, occurred at around 10:40 a.m. Beijing Time, according to the China Research Institute of Radiowave Propagation.
The X3-class flare caused widespread interruption of shortwave communications and broadcasts, and seriously affected electronic survey systems for a long period. According to the institute, its radio wave observation stations in Guangzhou, Hainan and Chongqing experienced interruption of shortwave detection signals from around 10:20 a.m. through 11:15 a.m. The situation returned to normal at 1:30 p.m.
Two X-class solar flares occurred on Dec. 5 and Dec. 7, accompanied by several M-class solar flares. A researcher with the institute said the chances of major solar flares were low at present. “Continuous solar flares like those that have occurred in recent days are rather rare, but we should not be caught unprepared against them,” said the researcher.
(Source: Xinhua/R Netherlands Media Network Weblog)
(Photo courtesys of SOHO)