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Space weather expert: Solar flares will have little impact on China


A solar flare with a coronal mass ejection. /Beijing Normal University via Xinhua
A solar flare with a coronal mass ejection. /Beijing Normal University via Xinhua

A solar flare with a coronal mass ejection. /Beijing Normal University via Xinhua

China's National Center for Space Weather has predicted moderate to high levels of solar activity this week, with the possibility of more powerful solar flares.

The sun unleashed a strong solar flare, classified as an X4.5, at 2:35 p.m. (Beijing Time) on Monday, according to the center.

Solar flares are characterized by sudden bursts of brightness in specific areas of the sun's atmosphere. They are rated based on their strength, with A-class being the least potent, followed by B, C, M, and X, putting Monday's solar flare on the higher end of the scale.

Despite the strength, Chen Anqin, chief forecaster at the space weather center, said the solar flares' impact on Earth would be minimal and that the public does not need to worry or take any particular precautions.

"While these flares can carry a significant amount of electromagnetic radiation and high-energy particles, only a small portion actually reaches the Earth," Chen explained. "Moreover, our planet is protected by its own magnetic field, which means that even strong flares have little impact on human health."

Not dangerous but potentially disruptive

Solar flares are often accompanied by an increase in electromagnetic radiation and the release of particles across various energy ranges, which means they can cause disruptions in the Earth's ionosphere due to their interaction with the sun.

The disruptions could potentially impact navigation and positioning systems, aviation communications, shortwave communications and other emergency communication networks. They may also pose risks to satellites and in-orbit astronauts.

In response to space weather events caused by strong solar activities, China has established a comprehensive system that integrates monitoring and forecasting and provides other pertinent services.

According to Wang Jingsong, head of the center, the system boasts monitoring capabilities to accurately predict and provide early warning for significant space weather phenomena such as geomagnetic storms.

The Chinese space weather center also provides round-the-clock space weather advisory services for global aviation.

(With input from Xinhua)

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