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A massive solar flare knocked out radio in Africa and Middle East Friday

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An active sunspot that is just about to exit the visible disk of the sun shot its parting flare at Earth, causing a radio blackout in Africa and the Middle East Friday morning (Sept. 16).

The solar flare, classified as M8 in the second-most energetic category of flares, departed from the sun at 5:49 a.m. EDT (0949 GMT) on Friday, disrupting shortwave radio communications in the sun-facing parts of the world. According to Spaceweather.com (opens in new tab), amateur radio operators in Africa and the Middle East could have experienced signal distortion for up to one hour after the flare. 

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