Biggest solar flare in six years could knock out power on Earth, boffins warn

The biggest solar flare in six years could cause massive power outages, boffins are warning.

The X-class phenomena – the largest type of such a flare – has already sparked two-hour radio blackouts across South America after it erupted on Thursday.

At the same time, an explosion sent billions of tons of plasma and magnetic energy hurtling towards the Earth. The solar particles are expected to reach us tomorrow – producing electrical currents that could interfere with power supplies.

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The flares can be spotted through radio telescopes.

Dr Alexi Glover, from the European Space Agency, said: “It is the largest of the solar cycle so far and also the largest that we have seen since 2017. We are still analysing the event but early reports are indicating that this did impact radio communications for a short period on the 14th.”

The Met Office said the impact was unlikely to cause major disruption but it could give those at high latitudes the chance to see the Northern Lights.

This comes as boffins are claiming potatoes should be stripped of their status as vegetables to cut obesity.

Spuds should be rebranded as “starchy non-veg” like rice, wheat and oats, according to a new campaign. The Dietary Guidelines For Americans advisory committee insists potatoes are “not as good for you” as other vegetables.

But chippy owner Charlie Speller, 45, from Cromer in Norfolk, fumed: “If a potato is not a vegetable, what is it? It’s like saying a banana isn’t a fruit – or that Santa hasn’t got a beard.”

The academics in America claim spud-heavy diets have helped make more than 66% of their country overweight or obese. A recent report found most of the goodness is in the skin, which is often cut off.

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