Solar explosions could impact Earth
August 9th, 2011
11:36 AM ET

Solar explosions could impact Earth

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is keeping an eye on a set of solar storms and explosions that could disrupt satellite, telecommunications and electric equipment here on Earth in the next few days.

While activity had reportedly returned to somewhat normal levels when solar winds calmed Monday morning, another explosion Tuesday was three times larger than the February 15 flare, which, until now, was the most significant flare of this solar cycle.

Solar flare may disrupt your GPS

The real forecast worth taking a look at, however, is the one for 2013, when solar activity levels are expected to peak with the next "solar maximum" within the 11-year activity cycle. Electric and magnetic interference from solar storms blasting electrically charged particles into the Earth’s magnetic field can cause major interferences on earth. Already this year, there have been reports of lost high-frequency radio communication with aircraft near the Arctic, along flight paths where pilots depend on such communication for flight safety and guidance.

Pilots and commercial aircraft are not the only ones at risk, either. NOAA cautions that many systems humans use every day are vulnerable to changes in space weather, including GPS applications in mobile phones and in cars, power grids and military satellites.

“We now know how powerful space weather can be and how events that begin on the surface of the Sun can end up wreaking havoc here on Earth,” said Tom Bogdan, SWPC director in Boulder, Colorado. “This is why NOAA has a Space Weather Prediction Center — to forecast when space weather is coming our way, so we can avoid or mitigate damages.”

People in 1859 didn’t have that advantage though, when a solar eruption essentially charged the air on Earth with electricity, taking out telegraph offices across the globe. Some telegraph operators received electric shocks and papers within offices caught fire. The interference even caused telegraph equipment to continue distributing signals once the equipment had been turned off. According to a 2008 report by the National Research Council, an eruption of comparable magnitude today could cause $1 trillion to $2 trillion in damage worldwide.

NOAA officials are working closely with Britain on developing an updated facility to improve forecasting abilities and our understanding of how weather, in space or on Earth, can affect technology systems.

soundoff (468 Responses)
  1. sealed lead acid battery

    You can learn how to make your batteries last longer

    February 19, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
  2. товары для здоровья | товары для здоровья и красоты

    You're in reality a just right webmaster. The website loading speed is amazing. It sort of feels that you are doing any distinctive trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterpiece. you've done a fantastic job on this matter!

    August 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  3. offshore letter

    I'll be back for more great posts

    May 3, 2012 at 6:25 pm |
  4. nfu oh 46

    You actually make it appear really easy with your presentation but I in finding this matter to be really one thing which I think I might never understand. It seems too complicated and extremely wide for me. I'm taking a look forward to your subsequent post, I'll attempt to get the grasp of it!

    April 23, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
  5. more

    Thanks , I've just been looking for information approximately this subject for ages and yours is the best I have discovered so far. But, what concerning the conclusion? Are you certain concerning the source?|What i do not understood is in fact how you're now not actually much more well-appreciated than you might be now. You are very intelligent.

    April 4, 2012 at 9:16 pm |
  6. Paal Brekke

    For those interested in the Sun and the Sun-Earth connection (+ Northern lights) my new popular science book has been released.

    "Our Explosive Sun – A Visual Feast of Our Source of Light and Life".

    Our Explosive Sun includes 143 color illustrations and photos of the Sun, several of which were made especially for the book and have never been published before. Additional material, available via Springer Extras, includes a large number of animations and video material. A PowerPoint presentation of the book is a useful resource for teachers."

    More info, electronic version and sample pages:
    http://www.springer.com/astronomy/extraterrestrial+physics%2C+space+sciences/book/978-1-4614-0570-2?changeHeader

    Best regards

    Pål
    http://www.solarmax.no/Aurora/Contact.html

    January 4, 2012 at 10:30 am |
  7. Alia Lalim

    I old to be many than paradisal to hear this web-site.I wished to thanks on your instance for this wonderful larn!! I positively having fun with every immature bit of it and I've you bookmarked to brook a at new sundry you journal post. Sleeping Beauty Online Stream full movie part 1 of 10

    August 25, 2011 at 7:11 am |
  8. The Truth

    I used to be a non-believer myself and was greatly against the message on God. I am the same like many others, wanting proves and evidence before I can believe that God is real. After witnessing many real life testimonies on Jesus' healing in my church and in my own family and life, it is hard for me now to believe Jesus is not real. The power of the physical manifestation of His healing confirms that Jesus is what he said in the bible. A church member who was paraplegic and was confined in the wheelchair for over 10 years is miraculously healed one day, he is now an usher in my church. A lady with Hepatitis B is completely healed after a prayer of faith, a friend with serious scoliosis like the letter S and his spine is miraculously straighten and healed, my sister used to have a tumour and it was miraculously disappeared in two days, etc. God is a wonderful, loving God. He loves us every much. You don't have to be afraid of Him. In John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace (unearned, underserved, unmerited favor) and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His begotten Son, that whosoever believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Jesus said in John 12:24 I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many kernels – a plentiful harvest of new lives. Jesus loves you unconditionally. He wants to bless you in every area of your life. Just talk to Him. Jesus is God and a loving, faithful friend! When you have Jesus, you don't have to worry about what the atmosphere of the world is heading to. He is there to protect you...
    Check out these links, their teachings have greatly blessed me and I hope they will be blessings to you:
    http://vimeo.com/26825684
    http://vimeo.com/27117070
    http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1053
    http://www.awmi.net/extra/audio/1022
    http://www.josephprince.org/

    August 12, 2011 at 1:28 am |
  9. minisheree32

    omg i feel spacial because i knew about this before reading the article or hearing it on any type of news or anything.( i am only 14) and i learned it in school! imagine that!

    August 11, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  10. nemo

    Post script....
    There is nothing...not a darn whisper of a hint in our constitution of these united states that says we need or want a sun! The planet sun..and its inhabitants must...be...DESTROYED royed roy (echo). Since jesus walked on the moon..the sun has just been one problem after the next!

    August 10, 2011 at 3:36 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Jesus didn't walk on the moon. Neil did. Jesus delegated it to me and I delegated it to Neil...
      Hope I don't catch hell for that one.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:15 am |
  11. nemo

    The sun has been terrorizing the u.s.a for centuries..and we as Americans need to come together to destroy this evil threat! The people of the sun have been doing this hanky panky to long and its time we declare war and invade. I am so sick of the sun anyway...always shinning all day and not to mention all the preservatives and asbestos it releases into our airspace! What use is the sun anyway? I mean at least you can look at the moon for pete's sake! Ever try and look at the sun? Burn a hole in your septic nerve that goes to the brain! Can't go outside anymore cuz the sun will give you melanoma! I just don't know why we sent all those people into space for hundreds of years and we never did a dang thing about the sun! Now its going to crash into earth and make my gps on my car not work...like he!!...I can't live without my gps. This is such a no brainer..if the sun invades the u.s. Airspace I say we blow it out of the sky and be done with it...the sun has always been a problem...now is the time to fix it! I say send in the marines and just get rid of the sun and all the people living on it...just the way things are gonna have to be..VOTE NEMO 2012

    August 10, 2011 at 3:07 am |
    • Wzrd1

      We ALL support you!
      Now, go lead the way for the team that lands on the sun and plants that thermonuclear bomb to destroy it.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:19 am |
  12. sunspot

    it's so very plan to see everyone go outside and stare at the sun for 10 to 20 min. and you will see the solar flares. lol

    August 10, 2011 at 3:03 am |
    • Wzrd1

      It's so plan to see?
      English as a second language isn't working out for you, huh?
      Very well, hide your mind from FACTS. OBEY GPS when it fails, cliffs abound, hopefully you'll find one.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:18 am |
  13. Eric

    This article doesn't even tap into the damage that would be caused to our nuclear power plants – the threat is far worse than a few inconveniences.

    August 10, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • Wzrd1

      Yeah, because FUEL would CEASE to exist IMMEDIATELY.
      Idiot.
      There ARE such things as diesel generators. They're in ALL PLANTS. FUEL is there too. MORE fuel is planned by 9 different means.
      But, you are RIGHT. DEATH IS GIVEN, WE ALL WILL DIE BY NUCLEAR FLATULENCE IF I EAT BEANS AGAIN.

      August 11, 2011 at 1:17 am |
  14. Cherries

    All right everyone, lets PANIC!!!!

    August 9, 2011 at 11:26 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      THIS one, I'm not really concerned about. Especially since I'm not in orbit.
      By 2013, I'll begin to perspire a bit about losing some satellites.

      August 10, 2011 at 10:07 am |
  15. Nancy

    Scary

    August 9, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
  16. Cynical New Yorker

    On a more serious note, I wonder what the occupants of the International Space Station will be doing to protect themselves...

    August 9, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • Wzrd1

      Will? More like did and will again. The thing FIRST sent out a massive x-ray pulse.
      That said, I've not a whisper on what NASA plans are for protecting the ISS crew. Perhaps someone should contact NASA so they can issue a press release?

      August 9, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
  17. R.S

    And 50 more...

    August 9, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
1 2

Contributors

  • Elizabeth LandauElizabeth Landau
    Writer/Producer
  • Sophia DengoSophia Dengo
    Senior Designer