Thursday, December 29, 2011

Here Comes the Sun: Massive Solar Storm Could Knock Out Radio & Satellite Communications NASA Warns

A massive solar storm has unleashed a huge Coronal Mass Ejection, which experts warn will begin hitting the Earth starting today and will continue over the next three days. Areas with clear skies in more northern latitudes should be able to witness some spectacular displays of auroras, also called the Northern Lights.

The intense solar flares that will be hitting the earth will possibly create radio and satellite signal black-outs over the next several days caused by the intense radiation being ejected from the sun. Telephone and Internet services will also be subject to spotty outages. Rolling electrical black-outs are also a high possibility.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center wrote on their website: "Category G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storms are expected 28 and 29 December due to multiple coronal mass ejection arrivals. R1 (Minor) radio blackouts are expected until 31 December."

The news comes as NASA has warned the United States government to prepare for more possible disruptions due to increasingly stronger solar activity. The 11-year solar cycle was anticipated to change over into a Solar Maximum event in 2012 (there's that year again), but activity from the sun began to increase unexpectedly earlier this year.

Only last month one of the largest storms the sun can produce was detected by satellites that constantly observe our celestial star. Known as an X1.9 flare, it was one of the biggest produced in years. The flare was so powerful that it disrupted communications systems here on earth a short time later. Another massive X-class flare was emitted from the sun in August, but the flare was not directed toward the earth and caused no communication disruptions. 

In 1989, an intense coronal mass ejection from the sun was responsible for leaving over six million people in Quebec, Canada, without electricity when the intense storm knocked essential power grids offline.

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