HolyCoast: Solar Storm Coming

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Solar Storm Coming

Your satellite TV may be a little sketchy for a couple of days, and if your GPS takes you to Hooter's instead of your house, there may be a reason:
The largest solar storm in five years is racing toward Earth, threatening to unleash a torrent of charged particles that could disrupt power grids, GPS and airplane flights.

The sun erupted Tuesday evening, and the effects should start smacking Earth between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. EST Thursday (0600 GMT and 1000 GMT), according to forecasters at the U.S. government's Space Weather Prediction Center. They say the storm, which started with a massive solar flare, is growing as it speeds outward from the sun.

"It's hitting us right in the nose," said Joe Kunches, a scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He called it the sun's version of "Super Tuesday."

Scientists say the sun has been relatively quiet for some time. And this storm, while strong, may seem fiercer because Earth has been lulled by several years of weak solar activity.

"This is a good-size event, but not the extreme type," said Bill Murtagh, program coordinator for the space weather center.
Could be interesting, especially if you're far north enough to see the Northern Lights.

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