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Heightened Activity on Sun Disrupts Technology, Lights up Sky

By Jed Smith in News
Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 03:49:18 PM EST
Tags: Science (all tags)
Science

An extremely large solar flare erupted from a sunspot and sent a large burst of radiation directly at Earth at approximately 6 a.m. EST Tuesday morning, NASA officials say. The energy from the explosion is expected to disrupt communiation and electrical systems into Thursday.

"The eruption was positioned perfectly," astrophysicist John Kohl told CNN. "A major geomagnetic storm is bound to happen."


While this morning's flare is not the most powerful ever recorded, it is near the top. The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory reports that the magnitude X17.21 flare is the second-largest (with a tie for first) the organization has recorded. Effects from the flare will begin reaching Earth midday EST Wednesday.

The Sun has been providing a show for skywatchers in recent days. The recent activity is expected, as the solar cycle is building again (raw data). However, the Sun has let off three recent, notable Coronal Mass Ejections, two of which brushed by Earth. The third is on its way.

"This storm has a lot of similarities to the Bastille Day Storm that occurred in July of 2000," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecaster Bill Murtagh said in this article. "[That storm] produced considerable disruption to both ground and space high-tech systems." Many forms of communication are affected by solar events, including satellite feeds, cable television, and broadcast services. Operators of space communications devices are already taking precautions against damage and sun outages are expected for over a week. Cellular phone service may be disrupted as well.

NOAA expects another flare soon and also reported that heightened geomagnetic and radiation storms are likely.

An often-overlooked side effect of such a storm is the wonderful displays of Aurora borealis (the "Northern lights") that it can produce. The storm, which will last anywhere between eighteen and twenty-four hours, may cause Aurora activity to be visible in the northern United States, officials expect.

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1 A measure of the magnitude of a flare. More. (back)

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Heightened Activity on Sun Disrupts Technology, Lights up Sky | 45 comments (26 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
This Majestic 12/Gulf Breeze/Area 51 crap (1.18 / 22) (#2)
by rmg on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 02:01:11 AM EST

Might fly on Slashdot, but do you honestly believe that the educated readers of K5 are going to buy your malarkey about lights in the sky and threats from outer space, you have another thing coming. Really now, didn't this kind of bizarre pseudoscience go out with X-Files?

_____ intellectual tiddlywinks

Actually, this affects us quite a bit (2.85 / 7) (#3)
by Jed Smith on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 02:05:34 AM EST

This isn't Area 51 stuff, it's geophysics. Solar activity interferes with high-frequency radio communications (which happen to be my job). Solar outages are quite pervasive among radio stations that accept syndicated feeds and what not. I'm not suggesting the end of the world, simply that a large solar storm is coming.
_____
K5 is dead. Steve Ballmer made the most insightful comment on a story. -- jw32767
[ Parent ]
It figures (none / 3) (#17)
by nkyad on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 09:16:19 AM EST

I guess irony, geophysics and high-frequency radio communications do not cross ways too often.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
This Irony/Humour/Smartass crap (2.28 / 7) (#16)
by nkyad on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 09:13:03 AM EST

Might fly on Mefi, but if you honestly believe the humourless readers of K5 are going to buy your malarkey of subtle references and fine irony, you have another thing coming. Really now, didn't this kind of bizarre pseudowriting go out with Literacy?

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
I disagree, (none / 2) (#18)
by Akshay on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:27:13 AM EST

and as a sign of my disagreement, I've decided to mod you down.

[ Parent ]
And post a literal explanation, I notice (none / 2) (#21)
by nkyad on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:44:32 AM EST

Otherwise I would be hard pressed to decide if you modded the comment down because disagree with the content, disagree with the other ratings, disagree with me in general or just disagrees on principle. Or even if you agree but feel love must hurt to be true. I fell much better now.

Don't believe in anything you can't see, smell, touch or at the very least infer from a good particle accelerator run


[ Parent ]
+3, I'm floating in air. (none / 0) (#43)
by Akshay on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 12:29:18 PM EST

:-D

[ Parent ]
I just saw this on the internet, web. (1.06 / 32) (#4)
by My Trole on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 02:27:07 AM EST

In A.D. 2101
War was beginning.
Captain: What happen ?
Mechanic: Somebody set up us the bomb.
Operator: We get signal.
Captain: What !
Operator: Main screen turn on.
Captain: It's You !!
Cats: How are you gentlemen !!
Cats: All your base are belong to us.
Cats: You are on the way to destruction.
Captain: What you say !!
Cats: You have no chance to survive make your time.
Cats: HA HA HA HA ....
Captain: Take off every 'zig' !!
Captain: You know what you doing.
Captain: Move 'zig'.
Captain: For great justice.

This article of yours, Jed, reminds myself and others of the fragility of centralization.  Would one monolithic satelite really survive a direct hit from this massive amount of radiation?  No, that is why we have many different types of satelites, from many different entities.  Why is it different in the operating system sphere?  Should M$ be allowed to use its' monopoly to gain monolithic powers?  I know I've made a stand.  I use Linux.  Specifically, Fedora Core 0.95.  It is the next all free distribution, ala Debian.  

Sure... (1.05 / 18) (#5)
by My Trole on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 03:57:12 AM EST

I've crossed the railroad tracks. I know what it's like on the other side. You want to try and bring the rest of us into the discussion? Science is largely the domain of a select few. I want to see that changed, as I hope you do to. More explaining needs to be done in this article. *What* is radiation? Does telling people that radiation can affect their way of life really educate them? Also, link propogation is fine if it can enhance our collective knowledge. You have done just the opposite. I'm feeling extremely ignorant after having reviewed your footnote links. Filter your sources, then the mainstream will understand.

Aaah... So says the BOFH. (1.66 / 12) (#14)
by bigbtommy on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 08:46:21 AM EST

I turn the page on the excuse sheet. "SOLAR FLARES" stares out at me. I'd better read up on that. Two minutes later I'm ready to answer the phone.

"Hello?" I say.

"WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN, I'VE BEEN TRYING TO GET YOU ALL MORNING?!"

I hate it when they shout at me early in the morning. It always puts me in a bad mood. You know what I mean.

"Ah, yes. Well, there's been some solar activity this morning, it always disrupts electronics..." I say, sweet as a sugar pie.

"Huh? But I could get through to my friends?!"

"Yes, that's entirely possible, solar activity is very unpredictable in it's effects. Why last week, we had some files just dissappear >from a guys account while he was working on it!"

"Really?"

"Straight Up! Hey, do you want me to check your account?"

"Yes please, I've got some important stuff in there!"

"Ok, what's your username..."

[URL=http://www.informatik.uni-trier.de/~bern/Bofh/bofh-06.html]And so on...[/URL]

So that's why the primary DNS server on campus isn't working... solar flares.
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up

Whoops. (2.00 / 4) (#15)
by bigbtommy on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 08:47:25 AM EST

This isn't vBulletin! Here's the link
-- bbCity.co.uk - When I see kids, I speed up
[ Parent ]
I think that destroyed your credibility. nt (2.75 / 4) (#23)
by Jed Smith on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:59:01 AM EST


_____
K5 is dead. Steve Ballmer made the most insightful comment on a story. -- jw32767
[ Parent ]
Aurora (none / 2) (#24)
by mjs on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 11:01:07 AM EST

If you've never seen an aurora and your sky is forecast to be even partially clear, it's worth checking out. It's worth missing sleep over. Heck, it's worth missing sex over. Once you see a nice aurora, you'll never forget it.

Of course, dark skies are best and because of their nature aurorae can't be accurately forecasted. Still, if there's a decent chance you should consider making the effort.

mjs

Agreed. I'll be up late tonight. [nt] (none / 0) (#25)
by Jed Smith on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 11:04:05 AM EST


_____
K5 is dead. Steve Ballmer made the most insightful comment on a story. -- jw32767
[ Parent ]
meh... (none / 0) (#26)
by Run4YourLives on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 11:48:36 AM EST

Unless it's going to look similar to what happens north of sixty, consider that as wonderful as what you have seen is, you have seen so little.

:-)

It's slightly Japanese, but without all of that fanatical devotion to the workplace. - CheeseburgerBrown
[ Parent ]

actually (none / 0) (#32)
by evilpckls on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 02:28:53 PM EST

even though its a bit chilly, sex while watching aurora would be pretty good. nothing like a good pulsating and swirling green sky to get the blood flowing.

-------
"High explosive vest after Labor Day? Fashion faux pas if I ever saw one." --Armaphine
[ Parent ]

Sex while viewing an aurora (none / 0) (#34)
by mjs on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 04:50:40 PM EST

It'd be distinctly unfair if both participants couldn't look up; contortions might be necessary. Let us know how it works out... :)

mjs

[ Parent ]

not entirely true (none / 0) (#36)
by evilpckls on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 09:33:32 PM EST

theres spooning, you know.

-------
"High explosive vest after Labor Day? Fashion faux pas if I ever saw one." --Armaphine
[ Parent ]

Solar flares? (1.11 / 9) (#33)
by wiredog on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 03:11:23 PM EST

Why should we care? WTF do you think this site is about? Technology? Get real.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

Has anyone seen an increase in aurora borealis (3.00 / 4) (#37)
by stak on Wed Oct 29, 2003 at 10:10:02 PM EST

in the continental US? I've never seen it before. I've seen the northern hemisphere pole maps, showing the intensity spread and it seems that it could be visible if it was dark and clear enough if you lived in Montana or Maine.

I saw it last night (none / 3) (#38)
by applespank on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 12:39:26 AM EST

between 2 and 3 AM in Iowa. It was awesome.

[ Parent ]
Anyone in Illinois get a peek? nt (none / 0) (#42)
by stak on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 12:22:48 PM EST



[ Parent ]
I saw it in Vancouver Wednesday night (none / 2) (#41)
by sticky on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 09:49:57 AM EST

It was spectacular. I've never seen a display in Vancouver like that before.


Don't eat the shrimp.---God
[ Parent ]
No aurora here (none / 3) (#39)
by the wanderer on Thu Oct 30, 2003 at 05:14:05 AM EST

I haven't had a chance to check out the aurora, because of the shitty weather with it's thick cloud layers.


david, the Lost Boy
the Written Pixel

Auroras in Maine (none / 1) (#44)
by rusty on Fri Oct 31, 2003 at 07:35:14 AM EST

My wife reports an seeing amazing aurora on the boat last night around 7:15 here in Portland. Interestingly, it seemed that no one on the boat was aware of this CME.

____
Not the real rusty
I live in Ireland (none / 1) (#45)
by GRiNGO on Fri Oct 31, 2003 at 08:51:27 AM EST

Noramlly one would have no mission of seeing the aurora from here but it was visible the night before last. Not very bright, not very spectacular ( kinda like a green veil in the sky ) but visible nonetheless.

--
"I send you to Baghdad a long time. Nobody find you. Do they care, buddy?" - Three Kings


Heightened Activity on Sun Disrupts Technology, Lights up Sky | 45 comments (26 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
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