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+---Topic: Sun Hurls Another Solar Flare at Earth! started by Tigger58
Posted by: Tigger58 on Oct. 29, 2003 5:24 am/pm
Sun Hurls Another Solar Flare at Earth
By JOSEPH B. VERRENGIA AP Science Writer
published 05:01 AM - OCTOBER 29, 2003 Eastern Time
Scientists again warned that communications on Earth could be disrupted this week by another spectacular eruption on the surface of the Sun and that it might even hamper firefighting efforts in California.
"It's headed straight for us like a freight train," said John Kohl, a solar astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. "This is the real thing."
Predictions are it could strike Earth's magnetic field by midday Wednesday.
The explosion of gas and charged particles into space from the corona, the outermost layer of the sun's atmosphere, isn't harmful to people. But it can knock out satellite communications, which some emergency crews are relying on in battling California's wildfires.
Similar solar events in recent years have disrupted television transmissions, GPS navigation, oil pipeline controls and even the flow of electricity along power lines.
Space weather forecasters first warned of that possibility last week, when a previous solar flare erupted, and then they saw a new sunspot region developing in another region of the sun's face.
The cloud of charged particles from last week's eruption struck Earth "with only a glancing blow," Kohl said. It disrupted some airline communications.
But Kohl said scientists observed the biggest such explosion in 30 years shortly before 6 a.m. EST Tuesday. It produced a particle cloud 13 times larger than Earth and hurtled through the solar system at more than 1 million miles per hour.
The resulting geomagnetic storm could be ranked among the most powerful of its kind and last for 24 hours.
It is expected to disrupt the communications satellites and high frequency radios.
In southern California, wildfires already have knocked out many microwave communication antennas on the ground, making satellite communications important to emergency efforts. Researchers said safety personnel might encounter communications interference.
Federal researchers said they already have turned off instruments and taken other precautions with science satellites.
A positive note: strong geomagnetic storms can produce colorful auroras in the night sky visible as far south as Texas and Florida beginning late Wednesday.
Sunspots and solar storms tend to occur in 11-year cycles; the current cycle peaked in late 2000.
Scientists compared the latest flare to the "Bastille Day storm" that occurred in July 2000.
"The Bastille Day storm produced considerable disruption to both ground and space high-tech systems," said Bill Murtagh, a space weather forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Posted by: RichKoster on Oct. 29, 2003 9:11 am/pm
I got the strange feeling that Pumbah was explaining it to me when I read about the big ball of gas headed our way.
Posted by: Goofyteer on Oct. 29, 2003 9:06 am/pm
So that's why my cell phone was going all kooky on me today while out at work!
Posted by: Goofyteer on Oct. 31, 2003 2:15 am/pm
Sorry to double post but is this solar thing the reason why I'm having such problems with my net connection? I don't know if anyone else is having this problem but I can barely connect here and can only connect to a few places like yahoo.com and can't log on at all to any of my online accounts (I pay bills online) or store accounts. My entire connection seems to have gone kooky overnight! Anyone else having this problem?
Posted by: RichKoster on Nov. 01, 2003 11:18 am/pm
Some of the problem might be because of the solar flares, but also the internet simply bogs down from time to time (either from overload because of a lot of traffic or because different parts of the system might be down, causing traffic to be re-routed).
Also, I'm in the process here on the Disney Echo of switching the database over to a better system -- but until I can do that successfully (having problems so far) there will still be a slowdown from the Disney Echo itself as well as occassional errors such as multiple postings of the same entry and errors for new folks trying to register (which I've been manually correcting as they happen each time).
Carol says, "Got sun block?"
Posted by: Goofyteer on Nov. 02, 2003 2:14 am/pm
Carol says, "Got sun block?"
If the solar thing is causing my net problems - I only wish there was such thing as sun block for net connections!