Solar storm headed toward Earth may disrupt power


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Message boards : Science (non-SETI) : Solar storm headed toward Earth may disrupt power

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Profile Michel448a
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Message 1203506 - Posted: 7 Mar 2012, 22:13:53 UTC
Last modified: 7 Mar 2012, 22:19:32 UTC

. WASHINGTON.


The largest solar storm in five years is racing toward Earth, threatening to
unleash a torrent of charged particles that could disrupt power grids, GPS
and airplane flights.

The sun erupted Tuesday evening, and the effects should start smacking Earth
between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. EST Thursday, according to forecasters at the federal
government's Space Weather Prediction Center. They say the storm, which started
with a massive solar flare, is growing as it speeds outward from the sun.

"It's hitting us right in the nose," said Joe Kunches, a scientist for the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He called it the sun's version
of "Super Tuesday."

Scientists say the sun has been relatively quiet for some time. And this storm,
while strong, may seem fiercer because Earth has been lulled by several years
of weak solar activity.

"This is a good-size event, but not the extreme type," said Bill Murtagh,
program coordinator for the space weather center.

The solar storm is likely to last through Friday morning, but the region that
erupted can still send more blasts our way, Kunches said. He said another set
of active sunspots is ready to aim at Earth right after this.

But for now, scientists are waiting to see what happens Thursday when the
charged particles hit Earth at 4 million mph.

NASA solar physicist Alex Young added, "It could give us a bit of a jolt." But
he said this is far from a super solar storm.

The storm is coming after an earlier and weaker solar eruption happened Sunday,
Kunches said. The latest blast of particles will probably arrive slightly later
than forecasters first thought.

That means for North America the "good" part of a solar storm—the one that
creates more noticeable auroras or Northern Lights—will peak Thursday evening.
Auroras could dip as far south as the Great Lakes states or lower, Kunches
said, but a full moon will make them harder to see.

Auroras are "probably the treat we get when the sun erupts," Kunches said.

But there is potential for widespread problems. Solar storms have three ways
they can disrupt technology on Earth: with magnetic, radio and radiation
emissions. This is an unusual situation when all three types of solar storm
disruptions are likely to be strong, Kunches said.

That means "a whole host of things" could follow, he said.

The magnetic part of the storm has the potential to trip electrical power
grids. Kunches said utility companies around the world have been alerted. The
timing and speed of the storm determines whether it knocks off power grids, he
said.

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

Solar storms can also make global positioning systems less accurate, which is
mostly a problem for precision drilling and other technologies, Kunches said.
There also could be GPS outages.

The storm also can cause communication problems and added radiation around the
north and south poles, which will probably force airlines to reroute flights.
Some already have done so, Kunches said.

Satellites could be affected, too. NASA spokesman Rob Navias said the space
agency isn't taking any extra precautions to protect astronauts on the
International Space Station from added radiation.

———

Sources:

Read more: Solar storm headed toward Earth may disrupt power - The Denver Post
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Message 1203870 - Posted: 8 Mar 2012, 21:11:39 UTC

Panic over!


Solar storm

Profile Michel448a
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Message 1203879 - Posted: 8 Mar 2012, 21:45:15 UTC

The Earth's magnetic field protects it from the constant onslaught of high-energy particles from the Sun and elsewhere in the cosmos.


but whats about the neutrinos ?
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Profile Bob DeWoody
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Message 1204029 - Posted: 9 Mar 2012, 5:51:05 UTC

Looks like we dodged another one. I wonder if they had the inhabitants of the ISS move to a safe zone?
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My motto: Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow as it may not be required.

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Message 1204200 - Posted: 9 Mar 2012, 17:15:28 UTC - in response to Message 1203879.

The Earth's magnetic field protects it from the constant onslaught of high-energy particles from the Sun and elsewhere in the cosmos.


but whats about the neutrinos ?


They'll pass through us harmlessly like they always do....


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The Kite Fliers

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Kite fliers: An imaginary club of solo members, those who don't yet
belong to a formal team so "fly their own kites" - as the saying goes.

Profile William Rothamel
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Message 1204219 - Posted: 9 Mar 2012, 17:50:22 UTC - in response to Message 1204200.

I posit that having a strong magnetic field is one of the requirements for the development of intelligent life as we know it.

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Message 1204252 - Posted: 9 Mar 2012, 18:57:15 UTC - in response to Message 1204219.

I posit that having a strong magnetic field is one of the requirements for the development of intelligent life as we know it.

That is the Gaia hypothesis. We are here because the Earth has all necessary conditions for the development of life.
tullio
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Message 1204442 - Posted: 10 Mar 2012, 4:30:29 UTC

I spent several hours last night photographing the Aurora. The displays were outstanding. For those of you on Facebook, check the Aurora Shooters Group and the Aurora Borealis Notifications Group for images from last night and previous displays.
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Message boards : Science (non-SETI) : Solar storm headed toward Earth may disrupt power

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