Feeds

Solar storm arrives, nobody notices

‘Spin’ deceived forecasters

High performance access to file storage

If you notice the complete absence of global catastrophe, it’s because the solar storm that arrived after this week’s series of eruptions from the Sun only struck the Earth a glancing blow.

Now, as people are noticing that the power grid didn’t collapse, computers didn’t fail worldwide, and GPS still worked (as well as it ever did), US space weather experts from the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)have downgraded the threat and are looking for explanations for the surprisingly low impact of the storm.

The only impacts reported by the NOAA are some brief interference with HF radio systems that have already passed.

According to Reuters, the solar storm, originally predicted to be a G3 disturbance (in the middle of the NOAA’s range fro G1 to G5) turned out to be a G1. Flights that hop the pole are still being re-routed in case of communications interference, and there is the chance that it could intensify during Friday (9 March).

The key to the minor impact, according to NOAA scientist Joseph Kunches, was the orientation of the mass ejected from the Sun – and in particular, the orientation of the magnetic field within the mass.

When the cloud of charged particles arrived at Earth, Kunches said, its orientation minimized the impact – something that’s not easy for forecasters to predict.

He likened the orientation in the solar mass to the spin on a baseball: it’s easy to see the ball leave the pitcher’s hand, and to watch its direction, but much harder to see the ball spinning.

"It is very difficult for forecasters, literally almost impossible, as you watch the coronal mass ejection come off the Sun to be able to predict the orientation of that embedded magnetic field," Kunches said. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.