CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- The joint NASA and NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center says R3-Radio Blackout Storms (Strong) are currently in effect on July 12, 2012.
Region 1520, located close to center disk, is the culprit on today's events. It is still to early to see if an Earth-directed CME or energetic particles are associated with this event, however SWPC forecasters are monitoring the situation.
Radio blackouts occur when the X-rays or extreme UV light from a flare disturb the layer of Earth's atmosphere known as the ionosphere, through which radio waves travel. The constant changes in the ionosphere change the paths of the radio waves as they move, thus degrading the information they carry. This affects both high and low frequency radio waves alike. Radio blackouts are rated on a scale from R1 (minor) to R5 (extreme). An R2 radio blackout can result in limited degradation of both high- and low-frequency radio communication and GPS signals.
Image Credit: NOAA / SWPC