11 September 2005

Solar Flare

Quote for the day:

"Living on Earth may be expensive, but it includes an annual free trip around the Sun."
Bumper sticker

Space radiation storm captured in an image from the SOHO spacecraft, which monitors the Sun.

Solar activity is at "very high levels," according to NOAA's Space Environment Center.

There have been seven major solar flares in recent days, including a tremendous X-17 eruption Wednesday. An event Friday evening was an X-6. On Saturday, an X-1 and an X-2 erupted. Even an X-1 can cause severe disruptions.

The largest flare in modern times was recorded in November 2003 and was estimated to be an X-40. It was on the limb of the Sun and so its full impact was not felt on Earth.

Sunspot 798 is the cause of this series of solar flares which, may disrupt communications on Earth and cause Auroral displays for those of us at high northern latitudes for the next several days. (Sunspots are cooler and darker regions of pent-up magnetic activity).

The sunspot is just rotating into view, with its energy directed sideways and not directly at Earth. In coming days, any major flares erupting have the potential to cause radio blackouts, cell phone dropouts and other communications disruptions.

Solar flares send radiation to Earth in about 8 minutes. Hours later, clouds of charged particles can engulf the planet. If the magnetic field of a storm is oriented opposite to our planet's protective magnetic field, gaps are created and radiation leaks to the planet's surface

Watch for extreme weather to occur within the next 48 to 72 hours. This most likely will take the form of straight-line winds, micro-burst, wind shears, and tornadoes.

Equation: Sunspots => Solar Flares => Magnetic Field Shift => Shifting Ocean and Jet Stream Currents => Extreme Weather and Human Disruption

Links:

Spaceweather
SIDC
LASCO/SOHO Coronagraph
Farmer's Almanac
Moscow Neutron Monitor

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