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Solar Eruption Triggers Strongest Radiation Storm

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the your-reception-is-terrible dept.

Communications 62

ForgedArtificer writes "A recent eruption on the sun will be exposing Earth to the strongest radiation storm seen since 2005. [The storm] will potentially disrupt communications and put high-flyers at risk of radiation exposure." Says Spaceweather.com: "On the NOAA scale of radiation storms, this one ranks S3, which means it could, e.g., cause isolated reboots of computers onboard Earth-orbiting satellites and interfere with polar radio communications." According to the Christian Science Monitor, "NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center has issued a geomagnetic storm watch, and the agency's deputy, Kathy Sullivan, said that polar flights are expected to be re-routed."

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62 comments

So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38805373)

...it begins... =)

Sweet! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38805375)

This is my big chance to gain my super powers and become the evil genius I've always wanted to be.

Re:Sweet! (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#38805573)

Or you get cancer.

Re:Sweet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38805629)

No, its the cure for cancer... Radiation Treatment!

Re:Sweet! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38805783)

Evil cancer?

Re:Sweet! (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | about 2 years ago | (#38805809)

This is my big chance to sell tinfoil hats to all the people who think that this won't be disappated by the atmosphere.

And I should point out that for those who make tinfoil hats themselves, they're probably using knockoff aluminum foil rather than tin foil, so they won't work as well.

If you think (3, Funny)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#38806025)

If you think that all forms of radiation from the sun are absorbed by the atmosphere before they reach human beings on the surface, it must be very dark where you are. And cold.

Lethal UV radiation reaches us all the time...oh okay, I am dutch, 3 days of the year. Which is celebrated by exposing as much of our skins as is legal to it till it cries out in terror and reacts violently to the radiation.

Humans eh. no wonder we still haven't discovered slood.

Re:If you think (1)

EdIII (1114411) | about 2 years ago | (#38811785)

Which is celebrated by exposing as much of our skins as is legal to it till it cries out in terror and reacts violently to the radiation.

Uhhhh... You're Dutch. I thought complete exposure was legal in your country. You could expose your taint if it were not so impractical physically speaking.

I'm not a complaint either. Well it is.. depending on which one of you is getting naked.

Re:If you think (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38811891)

You are dutch, eh? I think you are are Candian, eh?

Re:Sweet! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38806663)

Butters, is that you?

ISS (4, Insightful)

gmuslera (3436) | about 2 years ago | (#38805387)

I suppose the people in the ISS qualify as "high flyers", but NASA says that will be no risk for them [huffingtonpost.com]

Re:ISS (5, Informative)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#38805837)

I suppose the people in the ISS qualify as "high flyers", but NASA says that will be no risk for them [huffingtonpost.com]

"On the International Space Station there is a special thick-walled room to which the astronauts have had to retreat during times of increased solar radiation." [rl.ac.uk]

I'm guessing they'll be using this. At least until they add a deflector dish to reroute main power through. ;-)

Re:ISS (1)

squiggly12 (1298191) | about 2 years ago | (#38806079)

Don't forget, to reroute main power they first need to reverse the polarity :)

Re:ISS (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 2 years ago | (#38806291)

Don't forget, to reroute main power they first need to reverse the polarity :)

Oh god no, you don't want to do that. It would act like a giant tractor beam and could pull the sun closer to the earth.

Re:ISS (4, Interesting)

Bengie (1121981) | about 2 years ago | (#38807135)

If you're in space, you also get to enjoy flashes of light even with your eyes closed because of radiation interacting with your eye. I wonder if they stayed outside their protective room, if they would see a disco ball of light from the solar onslaught.

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2004/22oct_cataracts/ [nasa.gov]

Re:ISS (1)

confused one (671304) | about 2 years ago | (#38812719)

ever seen SOHO images during a proton storm? Now picture your eye replacing the CCD. Oh, and lets not forget your brain is right behind the eye...

Re:ISS (3, Interesting)

confused one (671304) | about 2 years ago | (#38806309)

Crew members on the ISS have a special waiver -- they're allowed to receive a dose higher than what is considered a normal maximum dose for trained personnel.

Global Warming.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38805391)

is causing the sun to fart.

About time for another bad SF Movie (3, Interesting)

ATestR (1060586) | about 2 years ago | (#38805465)

I know its been done before, but that has never stopped Hollywood...

Re:About time for another bad SF Movie (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#38805527)

I know its been done before, but that has never stopped Hollywood...

What, another cautionary SF movie showing how digital piracy causes solar eruptions?

Re:About time for another bad SF Movie (2)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | about 2 years ago | (#38805669)

Nonsense! You have the causality backwards. Solar eruptions cause software piracy!

Re:About time for another bad SF Movie (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38805901)

Look people. It has been proven that piracy directly affects the sun and reduces Global Warming. All hail His Noodlieness!!

Re:About time for another bad SF Movie (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38805745)

Solar Eruption raped my family and destroyed my neighborhood.

This is what happens when you date stars. DON'T DATE STARS.

Re:About time for another bad SF Movie - been done (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38810345)

"Knowing"

Re:About time for another bad SF Movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38810671)

Very soon enough we are all going to be extras in someone's movie.. now that they've managed to shred the magnetosphere, etc, etc...

Re:About time for another bad SF Movie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38814241)

The floating core

Duplicate story (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38805475)

It's been a while since we saw a duplicate on ./.

After this solar storm.. (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38805501)

We'll be able to more clearly see a disk, a black flap, and a scorpion.

Re:After this solar storm.. (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 2 years ago | (#38807773)

Only on Venus!

>> I figure it was just some ash as there is a lot of hot wind on Venus -- but sometimes it escapes as hot air!

If life is found -- I retract this comment.

Inevitable XKCD Placeholder (1)

JoshDM (741866) | about 2 years ago | (#38805651)

I will be disappointed if Randall Munroe does not address Solar Radiation panic in his forthcoming comic [xkcd.com] (links to main page).

Re:Inevitable XKCD Placeholder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38807791)

Now come on, he already did.

Re:Inevitable XKCD Placeholder (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38807941)

here [xkcd.com]

Re:Inevitable XKCD Placeholder (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38811155)

Timewitch!

Knowing... (-1, Offtopic)

geminidomino (614729) | about 2 years ago | (#38805943)

3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse 3verybody 3lse

(Anti-compression filter spam: Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition. )

Time to PANIC!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38806195)

Arrrghhh - oh wait since 2005?

Goes back to sleep.

Misleading Headline (3, Insightful)

xcfmx (25409) | about 2 years ago | (#38806271)

Headline: Solar Eruption Triggers Strongest Radiation Storm

Oh wait... from the summary

A recent eruption on the sun will be exposing Earth to the strongest radiation storm seen since 2005.

Re:Misleading Headline (1)

Vitriol+Angst (458300) | about 2 years ago | (#38809335)

Headline: Solar Eruption Triggers Strongest Radiation Storm

Oh wait... from the summary

A recent eruption on the sun will be exposing Earth to the strongest radiation storm seen since 2005.

That means we've been on a dead, lifeless cinder for over (counts fingers and toes), 25 years!

Apologies Slashdot -- but this is about geeky fun as well.

STRONGEST RADIATION STORM!!!! (3, Insightful)

LighterShadeOfBlack (1011407) | about 2 years ago | (#38806333)

...since 2005.

Nice tabloiding, Slashdot.

Re:STRONGEST RADIATION STORM!!!! (1, Offtopic)

ForgedArtificer (1777038) | about 2 years ago | (#38807591)

Not entirely my fault; I'm the one who wrote that headline and it cut off the last three words: "In Seven Years"

To be fair, I didn't think to check the title on the preview... on the other hand, can't think how I'd have shortened it.

Re:STRONGEST RADIATION STORM!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38814033)

solar radiation storm strongest since 05

or

even less violatile:

radiation from solar storm typical of last one

Re:STRONGEST RADIATION STORM!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38808009)

Since this is the strongest solar storm ever (since 2005) it's pretty clear that this is caused by the huge bulge of freshwater in the ocean. Humanity will be responsible for destroying the solar system.

Due to radiation concerns... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38806361)

...we will be rerouting flights through airports that don't xray passengers...

Popcorn! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38806679)

Now we'll be able to make microwave popcorn without the microwave!

Which radio freq's will be most affected? (1)

ivi (126837) | about 2 years ago | (#38807639)

HF, VHF, UHF, SHF, or where, in [the radio portion of] the Electromagnetic Spectrum?

Maybe: All of the above?

Re:Which radio freq's will be most affected? (4, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#38807839)

The reflection window will shift up (away from HF and towards UHF/VHF), meaning the lower frequencies will start to be absorbed while the higher ones start to reflect more (vs just refracting through)

The word from Power Central (2)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38815453)

Here's what the PJM Control Center (which controls the electricity grid for the Northeastern US) has to say:

74015 Solar Magnetic Disturbance Warning 01/23/2012
17:55 PJM - RTO As of 17:50 hours, an SMD warning of K-indices of 6-9 possible or greater is in effect beginning at 07:00 and will continue for the next 24-36 hours after arrival hours. PJM will issue any SMD events or extended warnings posted on the RCIS by MISO St. Paul via the PJM All-Call.
Additional Comments: NYISO has posted an RCIS message indicating expected intensity levels of K6 - K9, however, NOAA has only issued an alert of level K4. PJM will continue to monitor NOAA's alerts and update as necessary.

So PJM is aware of the problem, but they're not seeing any effects yet, and they haven't issued any contingency or emergency actions. The K scale is semi-logarithmic, and it's strange to see such a huge variation in predicted values. They can handle up to a K-7 without much problem, and a K-8 with preparation. A K-9 may cause real trouble.

Here's PJM's training presentation on solar storms. [pjm.com] The basic effect is that DC voltages are induced into transmission lines, which causes resistive heating in transformers (worst case, melting them, as happened in 1989). Where trouble occurs is affected by geology and ground conduction, and the trouble areas are known. There are preventive steps that can be taken. It's an interesting read, although if you're totally unfamiliar with where electricity comes from, you may need to go to the PJM training site and read "PJM 101" first.

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