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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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New Forecast: Severe Space Storm Headed to Earth

New Forecast: Severe Space Storm Headed to Earth


Editor's Note: This forecast replaces the predictive aspects of this earlier story on the solar flare.
Space weather forecasters revised their predictions for storminess after a major flare erupted on the Sun overnight threatening damage to communication systems and power grids while offering up the wonder of Northern Lights.
"We're looking for very strong, severe geomagnetic storming" to begin probably around mid-day Thursday, Joe Kunches, Lead Forecaster at the NOAA Space Environment Center, told SPACE.com this afternoon.
The storm is expected to generate aurora or Northern Lights, as far south as the northern United States Thursday night. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station are not expected to be put at additional risk, Kunches said.
Radio communications, satellites and power grids could face potential interruptions or damage, however.
Solar flares send radiation to Earth within minutes. Some are also accompanied by coronal mass ejections (CME), clouds of charged particles that arrive in a day or two. This flare unleashed a strong CME that's aimed squarely at Earth.
"It's got all the right stuff," Kunches said.
However, one crucial component to the storm is unknown: its magnetic orientation. If it lines up a certain way with Earth's magnetic field, then the storm essentially pours into our upper atmosphere. If the alignment is otherwise, the storm can pass by the planet with fewer consequences.
Kunches and his team are advising satellite operators and power grid managers to keep an eye on their systems. In the past, CMEs have knocked out satellites and tripped terrestrial power grids. Engineers have learned to limit switching at electricity transfer stations, and satellite operators sometimes reduce operations or make back-up plans in case a craft is damaged.
Another aspect of a CME involves protons that get pushed along by the shock wave. Sometimes these protons break through Earth's protective magnetic field and flood the outer reaches of the atmosphere—where the space station orbits—with radiation. The science of it all is a gray area, Kunches said. But the best guess now is that there will only be a slight increase in proton activity. That's good news for the astronauts.
"When the shock goes by, we don't expect significant radiation issues," he said.
The astronauts were ordered to a protective area of the space station as a precaution last night.
Now that sunspot number 930 has flared so significantly—after several days of being quiet—the forecast calls for a "reasonble chance" of more major flares in coming days, Kunches said.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 09:59 AM
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My rectal boil 930 has flared so significantly—after several days of being quiet—the forecast calls for a "reasonble chance" of more major flares in coming days.

Rectal flares are accompanied by colonal mass ejections (CME), clouds of charged particles that arrive in a day or two. This flare unleashed a strong CME that's aimed squarely at Earth.

The asstronauts were ordered to a protective area of the space station as a precaution last night.

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馬鹿は死ななきゃ治らない。

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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 10:12 AM
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This is really quite funny...last night, I asked my wife "Are there like solar flares or something? Shit has just been acting weird."

Our Dish receiver blinked out a little while last night...we've had totally inexplicable and unrelated server / network issues at some of our remote sites...some of our keyfobs don't work reliably (unlocking doors, etc). It's been that way for the past day or so.
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 11:45 AM
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This is awesome. Tonight in Portland we are expected to have 75+mph winds with 2+ inches of rain. Add to that some solar flares, and this town is gonna riot. Woo hoo!!!

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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 12:17 PM
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My IT dept. said "thanks for the heads up". There were some small glitches during the last one.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 12:31 PM
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 12:32 PM
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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 12:35 PM
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OMG , so creepy
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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 12:39 PM
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Never seen Maximum Overdrive???

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When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty.
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 12-14-2006, 12:41 PM
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Never seen Maximum Overdrive???
not much of a B movie fan
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