Solar Storm heading for Earth. Post #4479


Source: “USA Today”, 11 September 2014.

Reporter:  Doyle Rice.

Summary:  The bad news:  a solar flare could mean disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions.  The good news:  A flare could also mean an expansion of the aurora borealis–a great opportunity for photographers.

Article excerpt:

A “strong” solar flare that launched off the sun Wednesday afternoon could cause some fluctuations in Earth’s power grid and slight disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions on Friday and Saturday.

Major disruptions are not expected, even though the flare was classified as an “X-class” flare, which is at the high end of the solar flare scale.  Wednesday’s flare followed a weaker flare late Monday.

Bill Murtagh, a space weather forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said, “We expect geomagnetic storm levels in the G2 (moderate) and G3 (strong) range.”  He adds that “G2-G3 geomagnetic storms can cause some anomalies with satellites so satellite operators around the world have been notified.  And problems with the accuracy of GPS have been observed with this level of storming.”

Forecasters with NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado said the flare “caused impacts to high-frequency radio communications on Earth.”

Intense flares such as the one that erupted Wednesday are often associated with coronal mass ejections, or “CME”s.  A coronal mass ejection contains billions of tons of energetic hydrogen and helium ions as well as magnetic fields ejected from the sun’s surface.

Murtagh added “though this CME will hit the Earth, this CME isn’t big enough or impressive enough to cause a more disruptive geomagnetic storm.  But any additional eruptions in the next few days will likely produce more disturbances in our geomagnetic field.”

Thomas Berger, the director of the Space Weather Prediction Center, noted that it was “fairly rare’ for the two CMEs (Monday evening and Wednesday midday) to come so close in succession.”

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Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).

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