Upcoming solar flares could wreak havoc on Earth

A giant fissure has opened across the sun and is spewing rapid solar winds toward our planet.

A combination of three images of the sun at different temperatures. The dark areas are the coronal holes, places where very little radiation is emitted, yet are the main source of solar wind particles.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory got wind of the massive hole Friday morning.

This coronal hole is a vast region where the sun’s magnetic field tears apart, allowing solar wind to escape.

 Super-charged solar winds flowing from the sun’s atmosphere are expected to reach Earth on April 23 or 24.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, this could whip up a “moderately strong” geomagnetic storm.

These kinds of storms are behind the beautiful natural phenomenon the Northern Lights.

But a storm of this magnitude could have an effect on power grids and navigation systems across the Earth’s surface.

G2 storms affect plane and military radio systems, spacecraft operations, and could trigger voltage alarms or cause equipment damage in power systems.

Modal Trigger
Solar flares being flung from the sun’s atmosphere earlier this month

Scientists are growing increasingly concerned over the effect a solar explosion, flare or storm could have on humanity.

Our growing dependence on technology puts humans at a greater risk if power grids, planes and satellites stop working.

US President Barack Obama was forced to issue a chilling warning to the nation in preparation for devastating space storms earlier this year.

He said: “Extreme space weather events — those that could significantly degrade critical infrastructure — could disable large portions of the electrical power grid, resulting in cascading failures that would affect key services such as water supply, health care, and transportation.

“Space weather has the potential to simultaneously affect and disrupt health and safety across entire continents.”

Source: http://nypost.com

A Spotless Sun Baffles the Scientists.

“For the last few days, telescopes aimed at the sun have detected very few sunspots experiencing an unusual phenomenon dubbed a “Big Quiet”.

The event marks the absence of sunspots during what is supposed to be a heightened period of magnetic activity on our sun, which Swinburne University astrophysicist Dr Alan Duffy called a “very weird” development.

“Sunspots can change all the time, but when you should be seeing many dozens at any one point of time, it’s quite strange that we’re not seeing any at all,” Duffy told the Sydney Morning Herald. “We don’t have any idea why that is.”

Sunspots are temporary phenomena on the photosphere of the sun that appear visibly as dark spots, compared to surrounding regions.

They are the region of the sun where solar activity originates when material is ejected into space following solar flares, sudden flashes of brightness and coronal mass ejections (CMEs).

Sunspots appear darker to us as they are caused by highly concentrated magnetic fields that are slightly cooler than the surrounding surface of the sun. Solar flares and CMEs occur when built-up energy is released.

The spots are one gauge of a solar cycle, an approximately 11-year period of above average or below average magnetic activity. Currently, the sun is in a maximum period, so observations of sunspots and solar flares should be more common.

Yet an image taken by Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory shows a distinct absence of sunspots, with just a small dot of brown just right of the centre where a small sunspot appears to be developing.

Speaking to the LA Times, physicist Tony Phillips, who writes about solar activity on his website Spaceweather.com, said it was not altogether that usual to have a Big Quiet event.

“It is weird, but it’s not super weird,” said Phillips. “To have a spotless day during solar maximum is odd, but then again, this solar maximum we are in has been very wimpy.”

Phillips explained that we were currently in the weakest solar maximum to have been observed in the space age, so a spotless sun was not all that uncommon.

“It all underlines that solar physicists really don’t know what the heck is happening on the sun,” Phillips said. “We just don’t know how to predict the sun, that is the take away message of this event.”

Solar Flares Disrupt Communications on Earth, Could Send Shockwave on Friday the 13th.

Solar flares are bursts of radiation on the sun’s surface. The disturbance to Earth’s atmosphere can disrupt GPS and communications signals, according to NASA.

One of the flares created a “coronal mass ejection” that actually could come into contact with Earth on Friday, according to NOAA. The ejection is essentially a huge cloud of plasma that could hit the Earth and cause a shock wave, affecting communications systems. If an ejection were to hit Earth on Friday, scientists expect it would only cause a minor geo-magnetic storm, according to NOAA.

The flares were observed by NASA, which posted stunning photos and videos of the events on its website.

HT solar flare jtm 140611 16x9 608 Solar Flares Disrupt Communications on Earth, Could Send Shockwave on Friday the 13th

A solar flare erupts on the surface of the sun, June 10, 2014.

How Solar Flares Are Affecting Our Bodies.

Dena Ventrudo is the Assistant Editor & Photographer of Merlian News. She is a published poet and creative writer, most recently published in “Trails Through The Greenbelt” by Jack M. Freedman. Dena has a BA in Liberal Studies from SUNY Purchase College but also spent time there as a Dramatic Writing, Literature and Women’s Studies major.

What Is A Solar Flare?

Recently we are experiencing an intensive amount of solar activity on the Sun which is affecting both the Earth and Humans.

According to Wikipedia, “A solar flare is a sudden brightening observed over the Sun surface or the solar limb, which is interpreted as a large energy release… (about a sixth of the total energy output of the Sun each second). The flare ejects clouds of electrons, ions, and atoms through the corona into space. These clouds typically reach Earth a day or two after the event.

Solar flares affect all layers of the solar atmosphere (photosphere, chromosphere, and corona), when the medium plasma is heated to tens of millions of kelvins and electrons, protons, and heavier ions are accelerated to near the speed of light. They produce radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum at all wavelengths, from radio waves to gamma rays, although most of the energy goes to frequencies outside the visual range and for this reason the majority of the flares are not visible to the naked eye…

Flares occur in active regions around sunspots… Flares are powered by the sudden (timescales of minutes to tens of minutes) release of magnetic energy stored in the corona. The same energy releases may produce coronal mass ejections (CME)…

X-rays and UV radiation emitted by solar flares can affect Earth’s ionosphere and disrupt long-range radio communications. Direct radio emission at decimetric wavelengths may disturb operation of radars and other devices operating at these frequencies.

Solar flares are classified as A, B, C, M or X according to the peak flux…Within a class there is a linear scale from 1 to 9, so an X2 flare is twice as powerful as an X1 flare, and is four times more powerful than an M5 flare. The more powerful M and X class flares are often associated with a variety of effects on the near-Earth space environment.” wikipedia.org

How Solar Flares Affect Our Bodies

From my research I have deduced that there is some connection between the Sun’s solar storms and our human biology, especially after an M or X class solar flare. These flares effect the magnetic field and impact Earth’s weather. Human beings also have a physical magnetic field, so it stands to reason that we too are impacted by solar activity.

After strong solar activity on the sun, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tornadoes, and wind storms appear to occur more frequently.


Huge Solar Flares Keep Erupting from Busy Sunspot.


An overachieving sunspot on the surface of the sun unleashed its fourth major solar flare in two days late Tuesday (May 14), a solar storm that may deal Earth a glancing blow, space weather experts say.

The active sunspot AR1748 roared to life Tuesday night releasing an X-class solar flare — the strongest type the sun can experience — that peaked at 9:48 p.m. EDT (0148 May 15 GMT), according to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colo. The flare came after a relative lull in activity from sunspot AR1748, which fired off three monster X-class solar flares within a 24-hour period between Sunday and Monday.

In a morning update, NOAA space weather officials said they are studying this latest solar flare from AR1748 to see if it coincided with an eruption of super-hot solar plasma known as a coronal mass ejection, or CME. Such explosions can unleash huge waves of charged solar material streaking out into space at millions of miles per hour.   “Too early to know if a CME occurred. If one did, it may just glance the Earth’s magnetic field, given its off-center location still,” SWPC officials said. “Forecasters are pondering that one.”

Public outreach officials with NASA’s sun-watching Solar Dynamics Observatory released a photo of Tuesday night’s X-class flare via the mission’s Camilla mascot Twitter page, and suggested a CME event did occur.

Sunspot AR1748 is about twice the size of Earth and is currently located on the sun’s extreme left side, so it is not directly facing our planet.

The solar storm Tuesday night registered as an X1.2 solar flare, making it the weakest in the four-flare series from sunspot AR1748. The stormy activity began late Sunday (May 12) when the sun fired off an X1.7 flare. Two more flares followed on Monday, an X2.8 flare at midday and an even stronger X3.2 that night.

According to solar astrophysicist C. Alex Young at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, the sunspot will likely be facing Earth by this weekend.

“In a couple of days, it will be far enough onto the disk that any CMEs that we got would probably have some impact on Earth,” Young told SPACE.com Tuesday.

When aimed directly at Earth, X-class solar flares can pose a risk to astronauts and satellites in orbit, as well as interfere with radio, GPS and other communications signals. X-class flares and more moderate, but still intense, M-class sun storms can also supercharge Earth’s auroras to create spectacular northern lights displays.

The sun is currently in an active period of its 11-year solar weather cycle and is expected to reach its peak activity later this year. The current sun weather cycle, called Solar Cycle 24, began in 2008.

Scientists have been tracking the sun’s solar flares and other space weather events since they were first discovered in 1843. Today, a fleet of international spacecraft keep constant watch on the sun’s activity.

Watch the video: http://www.space.com/21154-four-mammoth-x-flares-spacecraft-cameras-brings-us-closer-video.html


Source: Space.com