Giant Sunspot Blacks Out Shortwave Radio in Asia, Australia

(CN) – A massive sunspot that has mushroomed into a behemoth nearly as wide as the planet Jupiter was behind a widespread shortwave radio blackout in Asia and Australia on Sunday and could cause similar disruptions in the western hemisphere on Monday.

The sunspot, named AR2665 is nearly 78,000 miles wide and contains dozens of dark cores, according to Spaceweather.com.

On Sunday morning it produced solar flare that touched off a series of small geomagnetic storms in the upper atmosphere. The led to blackouts, fades and other transmission irregularities most notices by pilots, mariners, and ham radio operators.

Forecasters at the National Oceanic and Space Administration predict a 55 percent chance of similar storms Monday as the Earth moves through the solar wind stream.

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