Archive for Thursday, March 8, 2012

Large solar storm racing toward Earth

March 8, 2012


— Earth’s magnetic field is about to be shaken like a snow globe by the largest solar storm in five years.

After hurtling through space for a day and a half, a massive cloud of charged particles is due to arrive early today and could disrupt utility grids, airline flights, satellite networks and GPS services, especially in northern areas. But the same blast could also paint colorful auroras farther from the poles than normal.

Scientists say the storm, which started with a massive solar flare earlier in the week, is growing as it races outward from the sun, expanding like a giant soap bubble. When it strikes early today, the particles will be moving at 4 million mph.

“It’s hitting us right in the nose,” said Joe Kunches, a scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colo.

Astronomers 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.

The storm is part of the sun’s normal 11-year cycle, which is supposed to reach peak storminess next year. Solar storms don’t harm people, but they do disrupt technology. And during the last peak around 2002, experts learned that GPS was vulnerable to solar outbursts.

Because new technology has flourished since then, scientists could discover that some new systems are also at risk, said Jeffrey Hughes, director of the Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling at Boston University.

A decade ago, this type of solar storm happened a couple of times a year, Hughes said.

The sun erupted Tuesday evening, and the most noticeable effects were to have arrived here between midnight and 4 a.m. today, according to forecasters at the space weather center. The effects could linger through Friday morning.


FalseHopeNoChange 6 years, 1 month ago

...and the "Liberalist" laugh at my "tinfoil" hat...

Getaroom 6 years, 1 month ago

And just when you thought it was safe to go outside - nope. It doesn't matter because because, in space, no one can hear you scream.

Paul R Getto 6 years, 1 month ago

Just a good reminder of how small and insignificant we are in the bigger picture. Sure hope it doesn't mess up TV reception; we might have to read books or talk to our families.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

We know this isn't happening, because scientists are the one who are saying that it is, and we know that scientists always lie just to keep the grants coming in.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

When the relative handful of scientists working for oil companies come up with theories that a) are diametrically opposed to what the vast majority of scientists put forth, and b) those theories just happen to tell the oil companies what they (and their shareholders) want to hear, a good deal of skepticism is completely warranted.

Unless you're ideologically incapable of such skepticism.

riverdrifter 6 years, 1 month ago

2 friends were fishing last night out on the ice on Greenwood lake in northern Minnesota. They texted me that the sky went bonkers around 2am for a while. Fine borealis light show. Up until then they'd been catching lake trout right along. Then they quit, just like that. Guess lakers don't cotton to CME's.

somedude20 6 years, 1 month ago


Nothing like a sun fart right in the nose!

Richard Payton 6 years, 1 month ago

Remember if your KU game gets the boot from a sun flare please don't blame Knology.

gatekeeper 6 years, 1 month ago

If the clouds clear up tonight, everyone should pay attention to the northern horizon. Forecast now is showing that the aurora will be visible down to Des Moines, but could possibly be seen farther south.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 1 month ago

Anyone who works for the government is evil and untrustworthy because anyone who works for the government is evil and untrustworthy. I learned that in fifth-grade logic class.

RoeDapple 6 years, 1 month ago

Need. More. Ammo. Have had plenty of tinfoil since 92% of the International Association of Psychics predicted the end back in '97.The oceans will shrink. Deserts expand. Crops will fail; there will be massive starvation Widespread emotional and mental collapse; increase in crime and violence Changing weather patterns; basic laws of nature will be disrupted Satanic demons will appear in broad daylight. War, pestilence, a worldwide plague Mankind will disappear around the year 2001

Well . . . They got part of it right . . . sort of . . .

Christine Anderson 6 years, 1 month ago

May it land right over the Ks governor's mansion.

camper 6 years, 1 month ago

More liberal kool aid from these commi scientists. I went outside and did not feel a thing.

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