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"We went out with snowmobiles to wait for the incoming storm," says Pietikäinen. "The show started slowly, but after 15mins the landscape was green! This was the first time for Thomas (pictured above) to see the Northern Lights. He was very happy."
In modern times, the largest solar flare measured with instruments occurred on November 4, 2003. This event saturated the GOES detectors, and because of this its classification is only approximate. Initially, extrapolating the GOES curve, it was pegged at X28. Later analysis of the ionospheric effects suggested increasing this estimate to X45. This event produced the first clear evidence of a new spectral component above 100 GHz.
Other large solar flares also occurred on April 2, 2001 (X20), October 28, 2003 (X17.2 & X10), September 7, 2005 (X17), February 17, 2011 (X2). and August 10, 2011 (X6.9). In 1989, during solar cycle 22 two large flares occurred on March 6 (X15) (see: March 1989 geomagnetic storm) and August 16 (X20) causing disruptions in electric grids and computer systems.