Dec 7, 2006

Earth Currently in a Strong Radiation Storm

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Graph of solar radiation stormGraph courtesy of NWS Space Environment Center

(Boulder, CO) The National Weather Service's Space Environment Center announced today that the planet is under bombardment by high levels of solar radiation, and has ranked the event as a category S3 radiation storm. The massive influx of solar protons was likely caused by a solar flare.

Such radiation storms pose a danger to astronauts, and increase the risk of radiation exposure to persons in high-altitude aircraft. Electronic systems on the ground are at increased risk of disruption, and satellites are much more likely to be damaged during an S3 storm.

We are entering what many scientists are predicitng to be a particularly active period in solar activity, and today's storm may be a harbinger of a disruptive solar cycle that will peak between 2010 and 2012.

I noticed a great deal of static on WGTE-FM 91.3 this afternoon, a station that normally comes in clear at my home. I am a bit under the weather today, but there is little research yet linking human health and solar storms.

5 comments:

The Screaming Nutcase said...

Maybe if the weather gets clear, we'll see some auroras.

Aurora map here. (The way I interpret it, we'd need an "activity level" of 10 to see some.

microdot said...

I remember seeing auroras in Detroit in the early 60's. The best was when I was 12 at football practice...suddenly everyone stopped, silent gazing with wonder up into the undulating crimson curtains.
I saw an aurora again in 1971? as I was walking up Collingwood below Delaware after work at the Hillcrest Hotel one wintry evening. Not as brilliant, but they were greenish blue.
Perhaps this sudden increase in solar activity cna explain why my saellite television reciever keeps reprogramming itself.....

Lisa Renee said...

I feel rather "eh" today too Mike.

Hooda Thunkit said...

My brother took a picture of an aurora near Virginia Beach and sent it to the local paper.

He captured curtains of mostly reds that filled the sky.

The paper printed it because none of their cameras were pointed up when it happened.

It raised cain with the amateur, commercial and public safety radio bands.

Ionization of the upper atmosphere will do that ;-)

Anonymous said...

Well this explains my "Ross-esque" smile without the black lights.