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Strong Solar X-Ray Radiation Hits Earth, Impacting Some Radio Communication For Entire Hemisphere

(CBS SF) -- As if powerful earthquakes, a small South Pacific tsunami yesterday, and a new undersea volcano off the Pacific coast weren't enough, today a massive dose of solar radiation was detected hitting earth.

The "strong" X-ray release from the sun occurred Tuesday afternoon, listed as an X2.7 class capable of impacting radio communications across the entire half of the globe facing the sun. An X-class flare is the strongest of any class. Any solar activity above X1 can impact radio communication including GPS signals around the globe.

The Space Weather alert came in at 3:53 p.m. Pacific time Tuesday.

Besides the X-ray radiation hitting earth, a minor solar storm is also predicted this week. The "coronal mass ejection" or CME is the result of super-charged particles erupting from the Sun on May 2nd, and due to their slower speed, they will hit earth Wednesday. Forecasters report a 45 percent chance of geomagnetic storms as it hits, which could cause the polar auroras to be seen over more of the United States than usual.

Simultaneously in the sky, meteors from Halley's comet are starting to appear, and may be seen in the evening sky as the "eta Aquarid" shower begins each May, peaking Tuesday night into Wednesday, with the best viewing right before dawn.

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