Dreaded solar flares hit Earth, so far no threats have materialized

Dreaded solar flares hit Earth, so far no threats have materialized

Boulder : CO : USA | Mar 08, 2012 at 10:20 AM PST
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Are you also perturbed by the reports of the two solar flares that hit the Earth late Tuesday? It was reported that one of the two solar flares was the second largest of the current 11-year sun cycle, causing fear among people.

A solar flare is sudden brightening observed over the sun's surface or the solar limb and interpreted as a large energy release.

The solar flares erupted on Tuesday (March 6) due to a powerful solar storm and sent particles towards the Earth. Contrary to what was being feared, they did not affect satellite transmissions and power grids upon arrival within minutes. However, according to scientists, the plasma cloud by the coronal mass ejection, which is expected to arrive on Earth early Thursday, can disrupt satellites, power grids, oil pipelines and high-accuracy GPS systems.

Earlier, NASA categorized the solar storm as a "severe geomagnetic storm which could disrupt power grids, radio communications, and GPS as well as spark dazzling auroras. This particular Solar Flare is the biggest solar storm that will hit the earth in about 8 years."

Tom Bogdan, director of the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, said last year at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, D.C., "The sun has an activity cycle, much like hurricane season. Hibernating for four or five years, not doing much of anything, the sun began waking up about a year ago. Even though the upcoming solar maximum may see a record low in the overall amount of activity, the individual events could be very powerful."

Even though they could be extremely harmful for the planet, "the good news is that these storms tend to pass after a couple of hours," Bogdan added.

Solar flares were first observed on the sun by Richard Christopher Carrington and independently by Richard Hodgson in 1859 as localized visible brightening of small areas within a sunspot group.

The frequency of occurrence of solar flares varies from several per day when the sun is particularly "active" to less than one every week when the sun is "quiet.”

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Handout image of a solar flare
Handout image of a solar flare
harry68 is based in San Francisco, California, United States of America, and is a Reporter on Allvoices.
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