CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida -- The joint NASA and NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center says that the R3-Radio Blackout Storms (Strong) that occurred at 12:49 Eastern Daylight Time on July 12, 2012 were accompanied by a Coronal Mass Ejection associated with an X-class solar flare that is traveling towards the Earth at 850 miles per second.
As of July 13, 2012, the latest model run now indicates the Coronal Mass Ejection associated with yesterday's R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout event will impact the earth's magnetic field around 9:00 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (1300 UTC) on Saturday, July 14, 2012.
The Space Weather Prediction Center is forecasting category G1 (Minor) Geomagnetic Storm activity then, with a chance of G2 (Moderate) levels at times through July 15, 2012. The S1 (Minor) Solar Radiation Storm persists just above event threshold. Region 1520 has decayed in the past 12 hours, but is still potentially eruptive.
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 and Video Credit: NOAA / NASA / SWPC