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Here comes the sun

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Solar flares – heading our way Navigation systems, satellite phones and sensitive electronic are feeling the effects of turbulent solar weather. Solar flares, the largest recorded for many years have produced solar radition that has reached Earth's atmosphere. Electrical grids, satellites, pagers and mobile phones that rely on orbiting spacecraft can sometimes be affected. In 2000, a solar blast created steering problems for several orbiting spacecraft. One hit the main electrical utility in Quebec plunging millions into darkness for hours and costing billions of dollars to fix. A solar flare is an explosion on the Sun that happens when energy stored in twisted magnetic fields is suddenly released. Flares produce a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, from radio waves to x-rays and gamma-rays. The results of a solar flare swept past Earth yesterday but the impact was weak Scientists tracking heightened solar activity in recent days reported some commercial airlines have had to make adjustments to their high-frequency communications, or in some cases switch to alternate satellite systems. More are approaching Earth and could trigger bright auroras when they arrive today or tomorrow.

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