Thursday, March 08, 2012
Solar Flares and Technology
Experts predicted that the solar storm that started Tuesday evening would knock out electric grids, reek havoc with satellites and GPS systems and reroute flights. The NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Space Weather Prediction Center found an increase in magnetic fields.
The storm was tracked at 6 am Thursday morning (EST) and turned out to be much lighter than expected.
Solar storms are cyclic and officials from Boston University's Center for Integrated Space Weather Modeling say that we "just lucked out".
The worst solar storm recorded was in 1859. In 1989 a storm knocked out power to the Quebec power grid. Storms are on 11 year cycles and 2013 will be the peak of the cycle.
Solar storms start with sun spots. A solar flare made up of subatomic particles makes its way to the earth within minutes. Days later a second mass reaches the earth, called a coronal mass ejection.