Global positioning system and radio transmissions may be degraded through Saturday as two solar eruptions strike Earth and affect its magnetic field.
The U.S. Space Weather Prediction Centre is tracking two two coronal mass ejections, “huge expulsions of magnetic field and plasma” that shot out of an area near the centre of the sun’s disc.
WASHINGTON — A solar storm zapped Earth on Friday but caused few, if any, problems. It also allowed more people to see the colourful northern lights.
Space Weather Prediction Center forecaster Chris Smith said the storm left the sun on Wednesday and first arrived on Earth at 9:55 a.m. EDT, and will continue disrupting the magnetic field through Saturday. It will likely only be noticed by specialized equipment.
He said it was a strong hit for Earth — the biggest since June last year. But he said the strongest of the energized particles went just above Earth.
NASA’s Orion spacecraft — launched earlier Friday morning on its maiden voyage into space — has come back to Earth, splashing down about 600 miles west of Baja California in the Pacific Ocean at 11:29 a.m. EST.
Fierce solar blasts that could have badly damaged electrical grids and disabled satellites in space narrowly missed Earth in 2012, U.S. researchers said on Wednesday.
The bursts would have wreaked havoc on the Earth’s magnetic field, matching the severity of the 1859 Carrington event, the largest solar magnetic storm ever reported on the planet. That blast knocked out the telegraph system across the United States, according to University of California, Berkeley research physicist Janet Luhmann.
NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory has been keeping an eye on the sun for three years now, and in honor of that achievement, they have released this video of the changes our star has been through during the last three years. The video shows the increase in solar flares and coronal mass ejections (which send rivers of matter and radiation out into the solar system). The sun is reaching its 11-year solar maximum and the frequency of these events have been increasing.
An X-Class solar flare — the most dangerous kind — erupted from the sun toward Earth today at 1:46 p.m. EDT from Active Region 2158. It's still unclear whether and to what extent the flare will affect power grids, satellites, or radio transmissions on Earth. But whether it wreaks havoc or not, it will be stunning to behold.