This week, the world was warned of solar flares that could potentially shut down electrical and communication grids.
A massive solar flare erupted on the sun Aug. 9, the most powerful since 2006, rated X6.9 on the solar storm scale. (X-Class is the strongest in the three-class scale system, with M-Class in the middle and C-Class the weakest.) More solar flares such as these are expected our way, and could become the norm.
Scientists are saying the sun will near maximum level of activity in 2013. Solar flares could cause serious disruptions on Earth-disrupting electricity, communications (such as cell phone, radio and satellites), causing blackouts and scrambling GPS.
The sun in going through a cycle called Solar Cycle 24, which started in 2008, and is coming out of a dormant stage -- and expect the next peak of activity in 2013.
"We still are on the upswing with this recent burst of activity," said Phil Chamberlin, a solar scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "We could definitely in the next year or two see more events like this; there's a potential to see larger events as well."