Heads Up! Today’s X-Class Flare Could Interrupt Power Grids, Satellites & Radio Transmissions

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Friday’s post is an update on the Ebola virus that you won’t want to miss, but in the meantime, we wanted to post this important heads-up about an X-Class flare that occurred today.  We’ve managed to dodge several powerful X-Class Flares over the past several years, but this time is different.  This time, it’s headed directly for earth.  The resulting solar storm (CME) has the potential to interrupt the power grid,  satellites, GPS and radio transmissions as early as Thursday morning, September 11th.

This does not pose a physical threat to humans, but it can make for a very bad day for electronics.

If you have procrastinated about hardening your critical electronics against CME, now would be a good time to do so.  In earlier posts, you’ll find information on hardening electronics in preparation for a CME event

Found on Yahoo News, and written by AP writer, Seth Borenstein, the article Scientists: ‘Extreme’ solar storm heading to Earth details today’s CME and why scientists are advising the public that we might be impacted by this particular flare.

WASHINGTON (AP) — An extreme solar flare is blasting its way to Earth and could mess up some power grids, satellites and radio transmissions, scientists say.

It’s been several years since Earth has had a solar storm of this size coming from sunspots smack in the middle of the sun, said Tom Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Solar storms happen often, especially during peaks in the solar cycle, and don’t directly harm people. But what makes this one more worrisome is its location on the sun along with its strength, he said.

“There’s been a giant magnetic explosion on the sun,” Berger said. “Because it’s pointed right at us, we’ll at least catch some of the cloud” of highly energized and magnetized plasma that can disrupt Earth’s magnetic sphere, which sometimes leads to temporary power grid problems.

Forecasters don’t yet know when Wednesday’s solar storm will arrive here and which part of the planet will be facing the sun and bear the brunt of the effects. It could arrive as early as Thursday morning or may take a few days.

Berger said scientists will have a better idea after they get more satellite data. The first part of the storm, which arrives in only a few minutes, has already affected radio transmissions. It can also damage satellites.

The flare is considered “extreme” on forecasters’ scale, but just barely so, Berger said.

On the plus side, sun flares expand the colorful northern lights so people farther south can see them.

We’ll see you on Friday, but in the meantime, if you have advice for the readers about hardening electronics or the potential impact a strong CME could have on planet earth, please post your comments below!  

God bless and stay safe,

David Morris and Survival Diva





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