Powerful solar flare has limited impact on Earth

01:16, Aug 10 2011
A solar flare, the largest in 5 years, that was captured by Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in extreme ultraviolet light at 131 Angstroms.
FLARE UP: A solar flare, the largest in 5 years, that was captured by Nasa's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in extreme ultraviolet light at 131 Angstroms.

The sun has unleashed a powerful solar flare, the largest in nearly five years.

Scientists say the eruption (early today, NZ time) took place on the side of the sun that was not facing Earth, so there'll be little impact to satellites and communication systems.

Space scientist Joe Kunches at the US government's Space Weather Prediction Centre in Colorado says there were reports of brief short-wave radio disruptions in Asia, but little else.

The sun is transitioning from a quiet period into a busier cycle. Scientists estimate there will be a spike in the number of such solar eruptions over the next three to five years.

The last time there was such a strong solar flare was in December 2006.

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AP