Friday, March 09, 2012

Sun Storm Just Affecting Earth

A strong geomagnetic storm is racing from the Sun towards Earth.

Its expected arrival on Thursday could affect power grids, airplane routes and space-based satellite navigation systems, U.S. weather experts said. [Comment: It's all about high-precision GPS; car based GPS should not be affected.]

The storm, a big cloud of charged particles flung from the Sun at about 7.2 million km/h [Comment: 1/150 of the speed of light], was spawned by a pair of solar flares, scientists said.

This is probably the strongest such event in nearly 60 years, and is likely more intense than a similar storm in late January, said Joseph Kunches, a space weather specialist at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Such stormy space weather is unusual in recent history, according to Harlan Spence, an astrophysicist at the University of New Hampshire who is principal investigator on the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) aboard NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

"These relatively large (solar) events, which we've had maybe a couple of handfuls total in the course of a decade, we've now had two or three of them, more or less right on top of each other", Spencer said.

[Source: Excerpts from an article published by Al-Jazeera on March 8, 2012]

Further information on NASA says there's no need to worry.

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