View Full Version : Strongest Solar Storms

January 25th, 2012, 01:16 AM

Strongest Solar Storms since 2005 (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/23/strongest-solar-storm-sin_0_n_1223841.html?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl2%7Csec1_lnk3%26pLid%3D129790)

AP/The Huffington Post By Seth Bornstein : Washington :

The sun is bombarding Earth with radiation from the biggest solar storm in more than six years with more to come from the fast-moving eruption.

The solar flare occurred at about 11 p.m. EST Sunday and will hit Earth with three different effects at three different times. The biggest issue is radiation, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado.

The radiation is mostly a concern for satellite disruptions and astronauts in space. It can cause communication problems for polar-traveling airplanes, said space weather center physicist Doug Biesecker.

Radiation from Sunday's flare arrived at Earth an hour later and will likely continue through Wednesday. Levels are considered strong but other storms have been more severe. There are two higher levels of radiation on NOAA's storm scale severe and extreme Biesecker said. Still, this storm is the strongest for radiation since May 2005.

The radiation in the form of protons came flying out of the sun at 93 million miles per hour.

"The whole volume of space between here and Jupiter is just filled with protons and you just don't get rid of them like that," Biesecker said. That's why the effects will stick around for a couple days.

NASA's flight surgeons and solar experts examined the solar flare's expected effects and decided that the six astronauts on the International Space Station do not have to do anything to protect themselves from the radiation, spokesman Rob Navias said.

A solar eruption is followed by a one-two-three punch, said Antti Pulkkinen, a physicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and Catholic University.

First comes electromagnetic radiation, followed by radiation in the form of protons.

Then, finally the coronal mass ejection that's the plasma from the sun itself hits. Usually that travels at about 1 or 2 million miles per hour, but this storm is particularly speedy and is shooting out at 4 million miles per hour, Biesecker said.

It's the plasma that causes much of the noticeable problems on Earth, such as electrical grid outages. In 1989, a solar storm caused a massive blackout in Quebec. It can also pull the northern lights further south.

But this coronal mass ejection seems likely to be only moderate, with a chance for becoming strong, Biesecker said. The worst of the storm is likely to go north of Earth.

And unlike last October, when a freak solar storm caused auroras to be seen as far south as Alabama, the northern lights aren't likely to dip too far south this time, Biesecker said. Parts of New England, upstate New York, northern Michigan, Montana and the Pacific Northwest could see an aurora but not until Tuesday evening, he said.

God's Toy
January 25th, 2012, 06:24 AM
I've always wondered how the Earth's magnetic field just happens to work in a such a way that protects us from the majority of the negative effects of solar wind.
As a ham radio operator Sun spots and Solar wind are something I've always kept my eye on over the years and when you look at how the earth responds in real time to it, it's truly amazing to see.

A nice pic and link for more info from a site I enjoy reading:


January 25th, 2012, 01:32 PM
Amazing to think that if baby Earth didn't have a magnetic field, it would be lifeless and atmosphereless (wait, is that word?) :blink: ... much like Mars which doesn't have a magnetic field to sustain life let alone an atmosphere. The cosmic winds would wipe clean the face of the Earth.

January 25th, 2012, 06:52 PM
Interesting! I remember hearing years back about how times of intense solar activity often correlate with major upheavals on Earth in terms of society and social change -- specifically, intense solar flares, etc often correspond with times of war, conflict, upheaval or revolution. Can't remember the source, but pretty sure it was a fairly official study.

Lion Spirit Walker
February 1st, 2012, 01:58 AM
All of it is very interesting. Every part with true purpose.

February 3rd, 2012, 05:27 PM

Lion Spirit Walker
February 4th, 2012, 10:29 PM
Amazing... Ty for sharing the video.