Satellite records solar flare

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Abstract

Scientific instruments aboard NASA's Solar Maximum Mission spacecraft have recorded a 40-minute burst on the sun's surface, which may have resulted in the ‘most significant observations ever made of a solar flare.’ The flare, covering more than 5.2 billion km2 of the sun's surface, was measured by six instruments aboard the spacecraft on May 21.

The intense electromagnetic radiation generated from the flare so disturbed the earth's ionosphere that radio communications over a broad band of frequencies were lost for more than a half hour, according to scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The flare also created a 9-hour geomagnetic storm, but it had little other effect on the earth, they reported.

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