Sunday Solar Flare

A powerful solar flare called a coronal mass ejection occurred on the sun Sunday night and has sent a burst of radiation in the form of protons toward Earth, possibly fouling up satellite communication and forcing the rerouting of planes near the poles. Even traveling at 1,400 miles per second (2,200 kps), the particles needed a while to cover the 93 million miles (149 million km) that separate the sun from Earth.

The 2005 blast was a lot more powerful — and a lot faster too, with the leading edge of the particle storm hitting us in less than an hour. That’s one reason to expect only mild effects from this blast, but that doesn’t mean there will be no danger. A sudden onslaught of storm-related radiation  can potentially disrupt electrical grids, not to mention satellite communication.

The strongest flood of radiation may slide north of Earth, but polar-traveling airplanes will likely reroute to skip the  increased radiation and intense communication jamming. NASA notes that “no adverse effects” will fall upon the six astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Along with the possible issues comes potential beauty. The storm of radiation may send the northern lights a touch south (but likely not as far south as Alabama, as seen during an October solar storm), sending off a new wave reaction: floods of new aurora photos from Tuesday evening’s skies.


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Jain T. Chacko is a freelance writer by passion and an Engineer by profession. Active in the blogger world under the title "WhatJainSays" ever since 2010. Through "" he shares the latest buzz in the e-world, spread across thousands of websites. Loves sharing and learning also prays for world peace.
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