The sun unleashed a powerful X-class flare last week which caused a minor disruption to shortwave radios in North and South America. The flare was accompanied by a coronal mass ejection which sent a cloud of plasma in all directions. When the plasma hits the Earth’s atmosphere, it can cause geomagnetic storms which can impact power grids and orbiting satellites and spacecraft. The storms also power the auroras which can be seen at high latitudes. The recent flare is the latest in a series of powerful flares since late February which have sparked auroras as far south as California’s Death Valley.