Auroras have been photographed as far south as Houston midway through one of the most unusual solar events ever recorded. The earth’s magnetic field is at present extremely thin and pushed back far from the sunward side of the planet by the powerful solar wind. Therefore, it is possible that significantly higher than expected radiation levels could be reached on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and various geomagnetic effects could continue or worsen during that time.
Thus far, there have been few effects from the powerful solar storms that are taking place. The only reported disturbances in the western hemisphere involved airline radio communications in the northern United States and Canada. Japan’s space agency reported that its Kodama communications satellite malfunctioned and was powered down.
Electrical power systems across the continent took precautions to avoid overloads. The FAA warned airline passengers flying north of the 35th Parallel that they could expect to accumulate the equivalent of two chest x-rays for every hour of flight. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station remained in the craft?s living quarters, which offer the best radiation shielding.
The storm is extremely unusual occurring this late in the eleven year solar cycle, long after the sun should have subsided. However, this is consistent with a recent finding by German scientists that solar activity has been unusually high for the past sixty years.
A second massive flare took place yesterday, sending additional radiation toward earth, and NASA is estimating a 50% chance of additional X-class solar flares in coming days. High speed material from this flare will strike earth today, as slow moving material from the previous flare is still impacting our planet’s stressed magnetic shield. The chance of two solar flares striking the earth at the same time is so low that astronomers have not explored the possibility.
We’re plagued by solar storms and forest fires?but this is nothing compared to the plagues that hit Egypt and actually changed their religion.
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