06 May 2012

"Here Comes the Sun, doo-doo-doo-doo..."

15 Iyyar 5772
Day 30 of the Omer

Space weather expert has ominous forecast
Mike Hapgood, who studies solar events, says the world isn't prepared for a truly damaging storm. And one could happen soon.


...People often talk about solar flares and solar storms in the same breath. What's the difference?

Solar flares mainly emit X-rays — we also get radio waves from these things, and white light in the brightest of flares. They all travel at the same speed as light, so it takes eight minutes to arrive. There are some effects from flares, such as radio interference from the radio bursts.

But that's a pretty small-beer thing. The big thing is the geomagnetic storms [on Earth] that affect the power grid, and that's caused by the coronal mass ejections [from the sun].

Coronal mass ejections are caused when the magnetic field in the sun's atmosphere gets disrupted and then the plasma, the sun's hot ionized gas, erupts and send charged particles into space. Think of it like a hurricane — is it headed toward us or not headed toward us? If we're lucky, it misses us.

Read more here.