Solar flare could disrupt radio, GPS, power systems

(NASA )
March 08, 2012|By Scott Dance

NASA is warning of a large solar flare expected to impact Earth on Wednesday night or Thursday morning, potentially disturbing radio communication, GPS and power grids.

A phenomenon known as a coronal mass ejection associated with a solar flare detected Tuesday is expected to reach us between 5:25 p.m. Wednesday and 8:25 a.m. Thursday, traveling at 1,300 miles per second. The events involve massive quantities of matter and electromagnetic radiation being released from the sun and traveling through space.

Other coronal mass ejections traveling at slower speeds could reach Earth in the coming days.

The solar flare they are associated with was the second-largest since 2007, when solar weather moved a regular calm phase of its 11-year cycle.

The solar weather can cause beautiful examples of aurora borealis, the "Northern Lights", but can also cause power outages and blackouts to radio and GPS signals.

Read more on NASA's website.

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