Sun spot causing storms on Earth

Sun spot causing storms on Earth

Summary: Trouble with your GPS? Your computer is mysteriously rebooting? It's probably due to the effects of a solar storm.


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  • UPDATED 3/12/12 7:30 a.m. ET. Trouble with your GPS? Your computer is mysteriously rebooting? Your cell phone isn't working? It could be due to the effects of a solar storm. Sunspot 1429 has sent 3 coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and at least 3 solar flares in the past week.

    On March 8 at at 10:53 p.m. ET the sun discharged an M6.3 class solar flare, and about an hour later released a coronal mass ejection. The lastest CME is expected to trigger solar storms of moderate intensity (G2) on March 12 and March 13.

    On Thursday NASA reported that two CMEs from the sun hit Earth at around 5:45 a.m. PT. Originally it was thought that the two CMEs would cause the worst solar storm in five years but fortunately that was not the case. 

    The National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center said the solar storm caused by the CMEs did reach a S3 (severe) level overnight Thursday and into Friday morning. But has leveled off.

    A solar flare is "an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events," according to NASA

    A coronal mass ejection happens when strong magnetic fields in the sun's carona "are closed, the confined solar atmosphere can suddenly and violently release bubbles of gas and magnetic fields called coronal mass ejections," according to NASA. CMEs can send billions of tons of matter at millions of miles per hour.

    The images above show the formation of the CME on March 8. It is now heading toward Earth.

    Credit: SOHO/ESA & NASA

  • NASA reported that two coronal mass ejections (CMEs) discharged from the sun on Wednesday March 6, 2012 and reached Earth at 5:45 a.m. ET on Thurday March 8. The two CMEs were traveling at 1,300 and 1,100 miles per second. Initial reports said they could cause the largest solar storm in five years. But that turned out not to be the case.

    Here's a photo of the actual CME leaving the sun on March 6.

Topics: Telcos, CXO, Hardware, Mobility

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  • "... a solar storm coming from the sun."

    So from where else do solar storms appear?
    • RE: Duck! There's a solar storm going on

      Umm, billions of other stars.
      • RE: Duck! There's a solar storm going on

        Umm, not strictly true. The word solar, from the Roman Sol, is used to describe our Sun, not other stars.
  • Could that kill a man-made satellite?

    And if yes, what would happen to the dead satellite?
    • RE: Duck! There's a solar storm going on

      @RelaxWalk Kill a satellite?<br><br>You betcha. A couple different ways this could happen. 1. Radiation could fry the circuitry of the satellite. It's pretty strong stuff and in the 80's was strong enough to fry electrical substations in Canada. Astronauts in the ISS have to retreat to shielded areas to get some protection from the radiation. Our atmosphere blocks most of this, though it can pour down through the magnetic lines at the poles, so except in the extreme cases (and they do happen - see 1859) the radiation won't have much impact on us here on earth. 2. The solar storm will inflate the earth's atmosphere causing greater drag on low earth orbit satellites. That will affect their orbit and could eventually cause them to deorbit - crash.

      Despite that this solar storm is still in the M class, just short of the X class storms that we can expect to see as the sun nears Solar Max in its 11 year cycle.

      Visit to keep up to date on what the sun is doing.
    • Kill a Satellite?

      Why, yes.

      It would just remain in its orbit until it drifted out after some long time. Eventually, after decades, it will drop back to earth. If it cannot be controlled, it cannot be boosted into a safe high orbit.
  • 11 year cycle

    OK, examining the last pic, it looks like the Sun had a peak in 2001. So, is it due to hit its 11 year peak in 2012? Interesting ...
    • 2013, not 2012

      It hits peak in 2013, not 2012.

      And no this is not linked to your end of the world mumbo jumbo.
      • re:2013

        Yep, and ur comment about the end of the world is funny...
    • 11 Years?

      The 11 year cycle is a very rough estimate. It has been more rough over the past many decades.
  • Hope nothing major comes out of this.

    I am just sitting here in my office reading through some articles about the Solar storm. I really hope nothing major happens. I have way to many orders at to place and paper work that is way behind.

    Lets just hope all we get is a nice light show tonight over the sky.
    • Hey Lindenbrooke- you have "way to many orders" to your own site to place?

      ZDnet should block you- you parasitic advertiser-- you won't get orders or much courtesy from me for your sneaky link.
      Jim Farmer
      • Sorry, I did not intend it to be advertising

        I certainly did not mean it to be an advertisement. I honestly didn't even think the site would show. My next post I will leave the address out, I don't advertise our business that way, we are on the up and up. Sneaky is this, we spend hours everyday blocking BOTS that are scrapping our site and using our information to redirect to another site. A lot of time gets spent on finding and blocking these BOTS, now that's sneaky.
    • This was not meant to be an advertisement.

      We do not operate our business by putting sneaky links on forums. Most time's when we post, the link is not a hyper link. We will never include our link again. As I stated below, we spend hours everyday trying to block bots from scrapping our site and using our information to redirect to there site, that's sneaky and that is who WE ARE NOT!
  • How is your item dated 8th March? The ZDNet bulletin went out on the 7th!..

    Solar flares affect the future too??
  • * * * RUMOR HAS IT . . . . .

    This latest solar flare will turn the magnetic poles around on earth.
    What that means is. . [i]we'll all find ourselves walking on our heads.[/i]
  • Messed with my computers and GPS

    But so far it's just slightly annoying.
    Sceptical Observer
  • yilmazx

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  • Take a closer look...

    This star-wars-like scary creature seen to the right of the flare may be responsible for the all that mess.
    Les Blachut
  • Solar apocolyptic armagednun !

    OMG! I can FEEL the burn!
    Life is over, as we know it!
    But! Will the scary solar flare interrupt my ZDNut connection? This is what is really important!
    Claude Balloune