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Radio traffic shot as flare a gun of a sun
By The Associated Press
BOULDER -- A solar flare that led to extreme radio blackouts Monday in the Pacific was so intense that forecasters said it was off the charts. Space weather forecasters had to estimate its intensity -- X-22 on a scale that only goes to 20 -- after sensors on a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite could no longer measure the flare's intensity. It was the highest-intensity flare forecasters have seen in the current 11-year solar cycle.
The NOAA said the measurement could be off by plus or minus two.
Pilots in northern regions of the globe Monday were kept waiting for takeoff after the flare occurred at 3:52 p.m. MDT, NOAA space weather forecaster Craig Sechrest said. Noise on the radio frequency the pilots were using prevented them from communicating, he said.
Since a solar-radiation storm has begun, a geomagnetic storm was expected in the next two days. Forecasters said it was too early to tell how severe the effects would be.
April 3, 2001
-- Martin Thompson (email@example.com), April 03, 2001