Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Angry Sun: Solar Storm Batters Earth

Earth is currently being bombarded by super-charged particles from the worst solar storm in years, scientists warn. The particles are a concern as they can cause disruption to satellites and major communication networks and are a threat to astronauts on the International Space Station. Disruptions in cell phone, Internet and cable television service can be expected.

The geomagnetic storm has been caused by a large M-Class flare that erupted from the sun on Monday. The effects are likely to be felt on Earth throughout Wednesday, experts say. SpaceWeather.com is reporting that people in more northern latitudes will be able to witness vivid Northern Light displays.

Aircraft travel is also being adversely affected by the solar storm. Delta Airlines has announced that it plans to reroute planes that fly close to the North Pole as a precautionary measure, to avoid exposing airline passengers and crew to high levels of solar radiation.

In 1972, a geomagnetic storm provoked by a solar flare knocked out long-distance telephone communication across the US state of Illinois. In 1989, another storm plunged six million people into darkness across the Canadian province of Quebec.

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