Solar storm barreling toward Earth this weekend

Jul 13, 2012 by ALICIA CHANG
This image captured in the 304 Angstrom wavelength, which is typically colorized in red provided by NASA shows a solar flare, lower center, erupting from the sun on Thursday, July 12, 2012. Space weather scientists said there should be little impact to Earth. The flare erupted from a region which rotated into view on July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/NASA)

(AP) — A solar storm was due to arrive Saturday morning and last through Sunday, slamming into Earth's magnetic field. Scientists said it will be a minor event, and they have notified power grid operators, airlines and other potentially affected parties.

"We don't see any ill effects to any systems," said forecaster Joe Kunches at the U.S. Prediction Center in Colorado.

There's a bright side to stormy space weather: It tends to spawn colorful northern lights as the charged particles bombard Earth's outer magnetic field. Shimmering auroras may be visible at the United States-Canada border and northern Europe this weekend, Kunches said.

The storm began Thursday when the sun unleashed a massive flare that hurled a cloud of highly charged particles racing toward Earth at 3 million mph (4.8 million kph). It was the sixth time this year that such a powerful solar outburst has occurred. None of the previous storms caused major problems.

This false-color image provided by NASA shows a solar flare, lower center, erupting from the sun on Thursday, July 12, 2012. Space weather scientists said there should be little impact to Earth. The flare erupted from a region which rotated into view on July 6, 2012. (AP Photo/NASA)

In severe cases, solar storms can cause power blackouts, damage satellites and disrupt GPS signals and high-frequency radio communications. Airlines are sometimes forced to reroute flights to avoid the extra radiation around the north and south poles.

In 1989, a strong knocked out the power grid in Quebec, causing 6 million people to lose electricity.

Juha-Pekka Luntama, a space weather expert at the European Space Agency, said utility and navigation operators "will certainly see something, but they will probably find ways to deal with any problems."

The storm is part of the sun's normal 11-year cycle of solar activity, which is supposed to reach peak storminess next year.

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PussyCat_Eyes
1.7 / 5 (6) Jul 13, 2012
They never say whether or not it's safe to be outdoors during such an event in the region where it's going to collide with the outer magnetic field. But they do advise airlines to reroute their planes. I suppose airline instrumentation and communications are more important than those on the ground since we don't have far to fall.
jimsecor
2.4 / 5 (5) Jul 13, 2012
Poor Pussycat...I imagine you'll look really spiked with your fur burned. Yes. You are right. Money is far more important that life at this juncture. However, I think "the worst" is far worse than power outages, etc.--there direct hits of cosmic radiation that far outstrips--no pun intended--glancing blows.
hagger
1 / 5 (4) Jul 14, 2012
as long as the HAARP array is not on stream we will be ok. should they decide to flick the switch and lower the upper ionosphere or reduce it's density we may be in for a rough ride, and you know how the military just love to use us as guinea pigs. enjoy the show.
A2G
1.8 / 5 (5) Jul 14, 2012
PussyCat...They are advising we use at least a 90 sunscreen even indoors during this solar storm at least through Saturday. You also should not wear conductive jewelry as the magnetic field could induce dangerous currents into the localized area around the jewelry. ;)
DavidW
1 / 5 (3) Jul 14, 2012
Solar storm barreling toward Earth this weekend


The Little Boy That Cried Wolf
NotParker
1 / 5 (3) Jul 14, 2012
Solar storm barreling toward Earth this weekend


The Little Boy That Cried Wolf


http://en.wikiped..._of_1859

Inevitably one will hit again and we aren't prepared.
Titto
1 / 5 (4) Jul 15, 2012
Can't give much credit to this website still believing in AGW?
Come on you idiots..open your eyes and ears!!!!!!
PaulRadcliff
1 / 5 (3) Jul 15, 2012
HAARP? That is not powerful enough to affect the ionosphere to any large extent. Conspiracy theories abound, regarding the HAARP facility and what evil harm our military would unleash on the world. However, never underestimate how insidious our Military Industrial Complex can be, so I can't assure you with 100% confidence. Just seems far fetched.