Feeds

Solar storm has a 'sting in its tail', warn space weathermen

Space station, satellites may hit particle squalls

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Thus far the ongoing solar storm which has blanketed Earth for the last 24 hours has been something of a damp squib, with no widespread problems reported. However space weathermen are warning of another "coronal mass ejection" particle squall inbound to our planet having been belched out by the Sun in the early hours of this morning.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center, the current storm is nearly over. This morning's bulletin, issued at 08:45 GMT, says:

G1 (Minor) to G3 (Strong) storm levels are expected for at least another 6 hours. The radiation storm that is in progress is abating, falling to the S2 (Moderate) level and dropping rapidly.

G3, as we see here on the official space Beaufort scale, is really of concern only to the crew of the International Space Station and those operating satellites: spacecraft in low orbit can expect increased drag effects, and may have to fire their engines to maintain speed. On Earth, there could be ongoing issues with sat-nav and HF radio, but these should all disappear soon if they even occur.

But it may not be time to whip the tinfoil off your sensitive electronics just yet. The bulletin continues:

In the meantime, a new event is grabbing our attention. When Region 1429 was pointed directly at Earth, it unleashed an R2 (Moderate) solar flare at 0353 UTC March 9 (10:53 p.m. EST March 8) and an associated coronal mass ejection now beginning its journey towards Earth. Analysis is pending to determine the expected arrival time and resulting geomagnetic storm intensity.

So the ongoing storm may have a "sting in its tail", it seems.

That said, the Sun goes through activity peaks of the sort now occurring every 11 years without major difficulties, and this maximum is rather a weak one as these things go. Some physicists think the Sun may be headed into a lengthy quiet period decades long, perhaps with significant consequences for humanity in space and the climate of planet Earth. ®

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

More from The Register

next story
World Solar Challenge contender claims new speed record
One charge sees Sunswift travel 500kms at over 100 km/h
SMELL YOU LATER, LOSERS – Dumbo tells rats, dogs... humans
Junk in the trunk? That's what people have
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
Jurassic squawk: Dinos were Earth's early FEATHERED friends
Boffins research: Ancient dinos may all have had 'potential' fluff
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.