To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

The radio blackout created by strongest solar flare in 6 years is seriously creepy

The radio blackout created by strongest solar flare in 6 years is seriously creepy

Who knew a solar flare could sound so ominous?

Researchers have captured the noise from the strongest solar flare in six years, which caused a radio blackout.

With GPS, internet and radio fluctuations among the effects, a solar flare isn’t the most ideal situation if you’re halfway through buying Christmas gifts, is it?

The blackout was created after the Sun released the strongest flare - the X 2.8 class - of this cycle. Prior to this, with the last strongest flare recorded back on September 10, 2017.

A second X-class flare.

An audio clip of the blackout was posted on IFL Science - a blog showcasing the lighter side of science - and the static noise is really creepy.

It seems this energetic event won’t be the last we witness either as it is understood the Sun is approaching its maximum activity for its current solar cycle.

The strength of solar flares means it can sometimes create radio blackouts, which is the case for the X 2.8 solar flare.

Solar flares release powerful light in the form of X-rays and ultraviolet light, which creates deep, dense layers of the ionosphere, or the part of Earth's upper atmosphere.

It is described by NASA as “an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events”.

The most recent flare reached our planet on December 14, just eight minutes after it was released.

At that time, the Sun was facing the Americas with the strongest effects felt in South America, though there were also reports of radio interference across the United States.

Thomas Ashcraft, who recorded the blackout from the Heliotown Observatory, near Santa Fe, New Mexico, told IFLScience: “This audio specimen was recorded December 14, 2023, at 5.05 pm UT during the onset of an X 2.8 solar flare.

“It exhibits what are known as Type II solar emissions, also known as 'slow drift bursts'. The audio was recorded using two separate shortwave radios, one tuned to 22.2 MHz [megahertz] and the other tuned to 21.1 MHz.

“If you listen close, preferably with headphones, you will be able to hear the emissions slowly drift down in frequency, first passing through 22 MHz and then 21 MHz.”

Typically, a solar cycle will last 11 years and range from a minimum activity level to a maximum one.

The current cycle is expected to reach its peak between January and October 2024, so you can expect a lot more blackouts to come.

Featured Image Credit: Credit: NASA remotevfx / Getty