Solar storm heading our way

Aug 04, 2011 By Nancy Atkinson
This plot shows 3-days of 5-minute solar x-ray flux values measured on the SWPC primary GOES satellite. Credit: NOAA/SWPC

Early yesterday, (Aug 3, 2011) two active regions on the Sun, sunspot 1261 and 1263 unleashed solar flares, which was captured by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. The video shows an M6 class flare from 1261 in a couple of different wavelengths. SolarstormWatch, a citizen science project through the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, England predicts the solar storm from the larger flare to reach Earth at 15:00 UTC on August 5, 2011, and also predict direct hit on Earth.

Solar storms are a concern if they hit Earth directly since under the right conditions, they can create extra electrical currents in Earth’s magnetosphere. The electrical power grid is vulnerable to any extra currents, which can infiltrate high-voltage transmission lines, causing transformers to overheat and possibly burn out.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

Check and the National Weather Service’s Space Weather Prediction Center for more information.

Explore further: Titan offers clues to atmospheres of hazy planets

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

The Sun Loses its Spots

Jul 24, 2007

While sidewalks crackle in the summer heat, NASA scientists are keeping a close eye on the sun. It is almost spotless, a sign that the Sun may have reached solar minimum. Scientists are now watching for the ...

Huge solar flare jams radio, satellite signals: NASA

Feb 17, 2011

A powerful solar eruption that triggered a huge geomagnetic storm has disturbed radio communications and could disrupt electrical power grids, radio and satellite communication in the next days, NASA said.

Getting ready for the next big solar storm

Jun 22, 2011

( -- In Sept. 1859, on the eve of a below-average1 solar cycle, the sun unleashed one of the most powerful storms in centuries. The underlying flare was so unusual, researchers still aren't sure ...

Solar Fireworks Signal New Space Weather Mystery

May 24, 2005

The most intense burst of solar radiation in five decades accompanied a large solar flare on January 20. It shook space weather theory and highlighted the need for new forecasting techniques, according to several presentations ...

Recommended for you

Titan offers clues to atmospheres of hazy planets

18 hours ago

When hazy planets pass across the face of their star, a curious thing happens. Astronomers are not able to see any changes in the range of light coming from the star and planet system.

Having fun with the equation of time

18 hours ago

If you're like us, you might've looked at a globe of the Earth in elementary school long before the days of Google Earth and wondered just what that strange looking figure eight thing on its side was.

The source of the sky's X-ray glow

Jul 27, 2014

In findings that help astrophysicists understand our corner of the galaxy, an international research team has shown that the soft X-ray glow blanketing the sky comes from both inside and outside the solar system.

User comments : 4

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Aug 04, 2011
What effect will this have on the auroras? Will the visibility come far enough south that some of the people in North America could see them without a long trip to Canada?
1 / 5 (7) Aug 04, 2011
Neutron repulsion [1] controls solar energy (SE), wind, eruptions, and Earth's climate:

a.) Pulsar core emits neutrons:

Pulsar => Neutron and ~12 MeV

b.) Free neutrons decay to H-atoms

Neutron => H-atom and 0.782 MeV

c.) H-atoms fuse to He

4 H => He-4 and 27 MeV

d.) H, He accumulate in photosphere and depart in solar wind

Information about the Sun - Earth's heat source - has been misrepresented [2,3] since a secret 1971 visit of Henry Kissinger to China to save the world from the threat of nuclear warfare followed by Nixon's Jan 1972 decision to cancel Apollo missions [4]

1. "Neutron Repulsion", The APEIRON Journal, in press, 19 pages (2011):

2. "Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate"

3. "Earth's Heat Source - The Sun"

4. "No More Dreams, Mr. President"

1 / 5 (7) Aug 04, 2011
Eleven months later, I was sad when I heard that Nixon had told Apollo 17 astronauts: This may be the last time in this century that men will walk on the Moon" [4]
5 / 5 (3) Aug 05, 2011
Omatumr, physorg is unique in attracting your type of commentary.