The sun released an X-class flare on May 10, 2022.

Extreme solar storms can strike suddenly. Are we really ready?

An unexpected solar storm in 2003 disrupted hundreds of flights around the world, causing spacecraft controllers to lose track of satellites in low-Earth orbit for days and cutting power to tens of thousands of people in Sweden. Now, nearly 20 years later, one of the world’s leading space weather forecasters admits that our living star can still catch us off guard.

October 2003 was a quiet month for NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC).sleepy sun is moving towards its minimum 11 year cycle activities that produce a mediocre 100 sunspot a month. Within a week, everything changed.The sun erupted with the largest sunspot cluster in more than 10 years and hit Earth with a barrage of flares and plasma eruptions, unleashing the most ferocious space weather events in recent history.

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