Blast from the sun reaches Earth

Solar flare.NOAA

Forecasters at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center said a coronal mass ejection (CME) arrived near Earth at 2:32 p.m. EST, Jan. 9, 2014, which initiated the start of a geomagnetic storm. Effects from the storm are expected to continue through January 10, with minor disruptions to communications and GPS.

The sunspot in Region 1944 produced the eruption at 1:32 p.m. EST Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014, and remains active and is well positioned to deliver more storm activity in the next several days. NOAA’s SWPC will continue to monitor the region for activity.  

How space weather affects real-time technology

Economies around the world have become increasingly vulnerable to the ever-changing nature of the sun. Solar flares can disrupt power grids, interfere with high-frequency airline and military communications, disrupt Global Positioning System (GPS) signals, interrupt civilian communications, and blanket the Earth’s upper atmosphere with hazardous radiation.

Monitoring and forecasting solar outbursts in time to reduce their effect on space-based technologies have become new national priorities. And NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center(SWPC), part of NOAA’s National Weather Service, is the nation’s official source of space weather forecasts, alerts, and warnings.

Space weather.

Space weather.

Download here. (Credit: NOAA)

Monitoring the Sun

To monitor events on the sun, SWPC staff  utilize a variety of ground- and space-based sensors and imaging systems to view activity at various depths in the solar atmosphere. A worldwide network of USAF-sponsored optical observatories also provides space weather forecasters with detailed, plain-language information about activity in and around sunspot groups, as well as other areas of interest on the sun.

Space weather forecasters also analyze the 27-day recurrent pattern of solar activity. Based on a thorough analysis of current conditions, comparing these conditions to past situations, and using numerical models similar to weather models, forecasters are able to predict space weather on times scales of hours to weeks.

With effective alerts and warnings, NOAA is helping to minimize the hazards of space weather on technology. For example, satellite operations can be adjusted, power grids can be modified, and polar flights can be rerouted.

For more information, visit the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center or follow space weather on Facebook.

One thought on “Blast from the sun reaches Earth

  1. Has any one died from this yet?
    Over the last couple of years, there has been a relentless escalation of the fear porn over anything coming from space or any new blip on the sun. The odds of an object hitting the earth is almost zero. There is not a damn thing we can do to prevent something from hitting. As for the Sun, we NEED more sun activity to keep Earth from going into a deep freeze. No one on Earth is going to be directly harmed by ANY major Sun eruption.The PTB are just exciting the weak minded to shout that the sky is falling and to justify the need for more government control to save us.

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