The Sun is entering the most active part of its 11-year cycle, unleashing powerful solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and streams of energetic particles in every direction — including toward our own humble Earth. Just earlier this month, a massive hole opened up in the Sun's atmosphere, allowing copious amounts of solar wind to escape.
And on Thursday, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory encountered the biggest solar flare recorded since at least 2017, which was powerful enough to knock out radio communication here on Earth for two hours in parts of the US and other locations around the world, the Associated Press reports.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center, it's "likely one of the largest solar radio events ever recorded."
Scientists have long warned that powerful solar storms could wreak havoc with electric equipment on Earth. They can cause train signals to go haywire, mess with entire power grids, and even kill satellites in Earth's orbit.
Earlier this year, professor of physics and astronomy at George Mason University Peter Becker went as far as saying that a particularly intense solar storm could trigger an "internet apocalypse," potentially plunging the globe into a "worldwide recession."
Scientists are predicting that the Sun will hit the apex of its 11-year cycle, or solar maximum, sometime in 2025, suggesting that we're in for many more solar flares like it in the near future.
More on solar flares: The Sun Just Blasted the Earth With an Enormous Solar Flare
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