An X-5 solar flare has sent a coronal mass ejection directly toward earth. The CME is now impacting earth's atmosphere, and has the potential to disrupt satellites, unprotected power grids and global positioning systems. While there may not be a strong effect on well protected satellites and power grids in the developed world, there is a greater possibility that grids in the developing world could fail temporarily.
However, the biggest effect might not be on power grids at all, but on stock markets. In 2003, Anna Krivelyova and Cesare Robotti published a paper through the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta that concluded that "a large body of psychological research has shown that geomagnetic storms have a profound effect on people’s moods, and, in turn, people’s moods have been found to be related to human behavior, judgments and decisions about risk." Other studies have shown that solar storms have a definite and pronounced but short-term effect on markets. If this is true, there should be market declines through the end of the week, as well as rises in violent behavior worldwide.
The current solar max began approximately a year ago, and will reach its peak toward the end of 2012. At present, space weather experts are saying that the chances of another eruption at the X-class level is 40%.
For more information, visit SpaceWeather.com.
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