July 13, 2012
Tags: Power Grid, Solar Flare
Luke 21:25 “There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars. And on the earth distress of nations with perplexity.”
The CME (coronal mass ejection) was hampered by limited observations of the event but the forecasters are now anticipating the CME, (directed toward earth) to arrive around 1 a.m. EDT, Saturday, July 14, 2012. Minor geomagnetic storm activity is expected to ensue throughout the day.
Forecasting space weather is difficult and surprises are possible but we are expecting no major impacts on the power grid or satellites.
If you are in the northern U.S. in higher latitudes, you might be able to watch the aurora late Friday night into early Saturday morning.
This flare is considered “strong” and has the capability to cause blackouts of high frequency radio communication on the sunlit side of the earth for one or two hours. It is not really known if the flare is accompanied by a CME (an outburst of particles that could trigger a geomagnetic storm and damage the electrical grid.)
Joe Kunches announced from the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, that a NASA satellite tasked with watching for solar weather, was “on maneuvers” (out to lunch) when the flare launched, making it more difficult to guess or forecast results. So to speak, “The home plate umpire wasn’t paying any attention,” said Kunches. Two other satellites were watching so, “It’s now up to the first and third base umpires to see if it crosses home plate,” meaning Earth, Kunches added.
The sunspot region 1520 where this CME is coming from, stretches roughly 139,000 kilometers across the sun’s surface. US News and World Report said this X-class sun flare was the sixth of the year, following one which occurred last week. The CME that accompanied the X-class flare last week missed Earth to the south.
There was an X-class flare that erupted on March 7 of this year that caused temporary outages of military satellites.
The so-called coronal mass ejection, a violently released bubble of gas and magnetic fields, could veer off. Scientists are waiting on more data to pinpoint the speed and severity of the storm.