In the month of May, the Indian Centre for Space Physics (ICSP) noted 13 incidents of solar flares (see box ) recorded alarmingly close to Earth. This activity was recorded while space scientists were monitoring payload equipment attached to a heliumfilled balloon they sent into the sky last week. ICSP's secretary Prof Sandip K Chakrabarti dashed off an alert to DGCA chief Arun Mishra on Friday.
Solar flares are cyclic phenomena that occur once every 11 years. "For the first time in the past four years, we have found solar flares 12 kilometres into the Earth's atmosphere.