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Largest solar flare ever recorded
2003 11 04

A massive solar flare saturated X-ray detectors onboard GOES satellites for 11 minutes. The last time such a thing happened was in 2001. That flare was classified as an X22--the biggest ever. This one was even bigger. It was almost certainly the biggest flare ever recorded.

"This solar flare was the largest I have ever seen" said Dr. Ernest Hildner, director of the NOAA/NASA Space Weather Center. "The solar flare that occurred today was so large, we do not have a chart high enough to register it. My best guess would be between a X-25 and an X-30."

Ionizing radiation from the flare hit Earth's atmosphere soon after the explosion and caused a severe radio blackout, which radio listeners noticed across North America. The explosion also hurled a coronal mass ejection into space, which could deliver a glancing blow to our planet's magnetic field on Nov. 5th.

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