Scientists hope that thesolar windwill form a barrier that will protect us from solarradiation during the upcoming pole shift here on Earth. Whenthe poles reverse on Earth, which has happened many timesbefore, the magnetic shield that protects us from solarradiation is temporarily weakened. Mars wasn’t so lucky.

Astronomers report that Mars had extensive oceans (andprobably life) until 3.5 billion years ago, huge solarstorms of the kind that flared up in the fall of 2003 hitMars repeatedlly and sucked up all its water, leaving it adead planet.
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A few months ago, we posted several stories about huge solar flares. Since the sun periodically has cycles of sun spots, which disrupt cell phone communications and pose a hazard for astronauts on spacewalks, why should this be a problem? But the Earth’s magnetic poles are now in the process of flipping, which weakens the magnetic shield that protects us from the radiation sent out by these gigantic solar flares.
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We’re at the beginning of a ten-year-long cosmic dust storm and we don’t know what the consequences will be. The Sun’s magnetic poles have flipped, as they do periodically, so now some of the dust that floats around in our galaxy will be sucked into our solar system. The Sun used to act as a shield, protecting us from it. Cosmic dust bombardment in the past may have caused ice ages and mass extinctions. Stuart Clark writes in New Scientist that this data comes from DUST, an experiment on the ESA/NASA mission Ulysses, launched in 1990. ESA scientist Markus Landgraf found that three times more galactic dust is now entering the Solar System than during the 1990s. He doesn’t know how this will effect the Earth.read more

On Halloween, solar flares erupted almost simultaneously on opposite sides of the sun?a phenomenon that?s never been seen before. Simultaneous solar flares have been seen in the past, but they’re usually clustered together, and scientists want to know if the flares are linked or if this is just a coincidence. “Now we have only one example of two flares that go off simultaneously that far apart, so it could be an accident. If we see more of these?then it becomes extremely important,” says astronomer Stephen Greggor. These flares can make space travel hazardous.
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