Biggest solar storm since 2005 pummels Earth

Jan 23, 2012
A January 19 image provided by NASA shows an M3.2 solar flare captured by the Solar Dynamics Observatory. A potent solar flare has unleashed the biggest radiation storm since 2005 and could disrupt some satellite communications in the polar regions, US space weather monitors said Monday.

A potent solar flare has unleashed the biggest radiation storm since 2005 and could disrupt some satellite communications in the polar regions, US space weather monitors said Monday.

The event started late Sunday with a moderate-sized solar flare that erupted right near the center of the Sun, said Doug Biesecker, a physicist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather Prediction Center.

"The flare itself was nothing spectacular, but it sent off a very fast coronal mass ejection traveling four million miles per hour (6.4 million kilometers per hour)," he told AFP.

A rush of radiation in the form of solar protons already has begun bombarding the Earth and is likely to continue through Wednesday.

The radiation storm is the largest of its kind since 2005 but still ranks only a three on the scale of one to five, enough to be considered "strong" but not "severe," he added.

NOAA said its website the S3 ranking means "it could, e.g., cause isolated reboots of computers onboard Earth-orbiting satellites and interfere with polar radio communications."

Biesecker said that when it comes to radiation storms, the polar regions are affected most.

For instance, the storm could spell disruptions to airline flights, oil operations, Arctic exploration and space satellites.

Night-sky viewers in Asia and Europe may be able to witness the aurora, or Northern Lights, late Tuesday as a result of the storm.

"We don't expect major impacts from an event like this," Biesecker said.

"It's the people who need GPS (global positioning system) accuracy of centimeters who have to worry, not people who want to know if you're going to turn the car 30 meters (100 feet) ahead."

Explore further: SDO captures images of two mid-level flares

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User comments : 8

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Shaffer
4.7 / 5 (3) Jan 23, 2012
I imagine the M8.7 that blasted off yesterday won't help things...
PosterusNeticus
3 / 5 (2) Jan 23, 2012
If you go to the NASA SOHO site and have a look at the current LASCO images you can see that the camera is being bombarded by particles, causing "snow". Pretty cool.
Nik_2213
5 / 5 (1) Jan 23, 2012
"...erupted right near the center of the Sun."
An unfortunate choice of words: "...Sun's face" might have been better.
kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) Jan 23, 2012
I imagine the M8.7 that blasted off yesterday won't help things...

That is what the picture is of :)

http://www.youtub...r8p13A2o

Well it looks the same, might be the same sunspot but a different flare.
Isaacsname
not rated yet Jan 24, 2012
You guys been hearing Mistpouffers at all ?

http://en.wikiped...pouffers

...Or anything else strange ?
kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) Jan 24, 2012
isaac what does that have to do with anything?
Isaacsname
not rated yet Jan 24, 2012
isaac what does that have to do with anything?


I'm learning about anomalous sound propagation, I have questions about low voltage Townsend discharges in dusty plasmas composed of amorphous glass volcanic particulates and micro-meteor dust in the lower regions of the magnetosphere, sporadic-E propagation, magneto-ionic flux tubes, sferics, and a whole bunch of other things possibly related to atmospheric noises, they are directly dependent on solar activity. I hate to link to this site, but it's a great spot for me to quickly convey some ideas and questions for brainstorming.

http://www.godlik...4340/pg1

Any input is welcome, snark is encouraged.
Isaacsname
not rated yet Jan 25, 2012
I've also found something that may help predict earthquakes at antipode locations of strange noises. I would love a job in studying Magnetotellurics :O

Come to the link I posted, friends, I think you will like this

:)

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