Solar Flares Unusually Strong This Week


If your GPS-driven panel functions seem glitchy this week the cause might be a Cannibal Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) and it’s as sinister as it sounds. The sun is reaching the end of Solar Cycle 25, which means solar flares and their resulting mayhem on radio transmissions is nearing a peak. According to datacenterdynamics there have already been some disruptions from solar flares but space weather geeks are now bracing for a Cannibal CME, which could damage gear on satellites and on the ground. Apparently one just missed Earth on Tuesday and there’s a good chance another will be unleashed in the next few days.

CMEs occur when tumultuous forces on the sun’s surface turn into a release of billions of tons of charged plasma, which is what the sun is made of, into space. Sometimes a second release of plasma blows off the sun at a higher speed than the earlier one and engulfs the first one, hence the Cannibal label. The result is a much more powerful release. It’s apparently happened before and the systems have recovered, but at least some disruption of equipment, particularly gear operating at 5 MHz and below, is possible.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. We are not anywhere Near the end of solar cycle 25 (SC25) yet but in fact we are still at the upside of the peak which should occur in another year and a half to 2 years.

    The peak of SC25 should be around the end of 2024 to the first half of 2025 and then a slow gradual decline towards the end of Cycle 25 which will dip to its minimum in another 7 years which will then bring us into the start of SC26 and the whole things repeats itself over and over and over for the next 11 year cycle.

    Presently this past week HF radio comms above 15 MHz were blacked out by CME’s and the latest CME’s blackout effects are fading and this week enhanced worldwide comms up to 55 MHz are now starting to appear.

    As the effects of one CME fades out the frequencies up to the lower VHF range near 55 MHz become useable for worldwide communications just like HF frequencies are used only to fade out once more when the next CME hits.

    The entire cycle will repeat itself for the next 4 or 5 years where the MUF (maximum useable frequency) will drop to around 15 MHz and then rise to near 55 MHz at a weekly or bi-weekly cycle after the effects of the next CME peaks and then fades.