If you have been experiencing disruptions to your TV and internet service, you can blame it on the solar flare shockwaves hitting our frail blue orb, earth. The sun' coronal mass has been very busy over the last few days exploding and ejecting gases that are hitting earth. There have been interruptions in some communication systems causing glitches and blackouts around the globe.
We are in what is referred to as a solar max period which means the sun is having solar storms that are affecting the earth. We can expect these solar flares to increase in number and intensity over the next few months. When the sun has explosions and they are forceful enough, they penetrate the earth's atmosphere causing electronics to have blips in communications. Some of these bursts of plasma are heading straight for us and they are strong indeed.
NASA explains that some of them are so strong, they are the “equivalent of millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs” blowing up simultaneously. Coronal mass ejections, or CME, also cause an increase in number and brightness of the Northern and Southern Lights that are so familiar in Alaska.
The Solar Dynamics Observatory caught the first X class flares on January 7 of this year:
The sun emits these huge bursts of radiation which, when reaching the earth can penetrate our atmosphere and disrupt communications, they do not harm people. They can and do disrupt the radio waves which affects GPS signals and can cause blackouts that can last for several hours.
Solar flares are measured or gauged by intensity. An X3 is three times as powerful as an X1. NASA explains that there are radio waves, optical, x-rays and gamma rays which reach earth causing disruptions to our communication and GPS systems here on earth. The solar cycle is 11 years and is also known as the solar max, which we are in right now. So, for the next few days, if you are having trouble with your TV, cell phone or internet, you can blame it on the sun.