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Posts Tagged ‘solar flares

Great Ball of Fire!…

In this x-ray photo, the dark arc near the top right edge of the image is a filament of plasma blasting off the surface (NASA, AP Photo)

From Astronomy Now, news of a “coronal mass ejection”:

The Sun appears to have jolted from its deep slumber, blasting tonnes of plasma into interplanetary space on Sunday, which is expected to collide with the Earth within the next 24 hours.

“This eruption is directed right at us, and is expected to get here early in the day on 4 August,” says astronomer Leon Golub of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. “It’s the first major Earth-directed eruption in quite some time.”

By the time one receives this missive, the plasma should have come ashore.

.. if indeed, one is able to read this.  As The Telegraph reports (via News24):

Scientists have warned that a really big solar eruption could destroy satellites and wreck power and communications grids.

Or maybe not.  Solarcycle24, a specialist site, is more circumspect:

There will be a chance for minor geomagnetic storming and a small possibility of major geomagnetic storming at high latitudes.

Which is to say that penguins and polar bears may be in for even-more-vivid-than-usual light shows in their night skies…

As to which prediction is right:  well, Dear Readers, if you are reading this…

As we recheck all of our surge protectors, we might recall that it was on this date in 1858 that, after several unsuccessful attempts, the first telegraph line across the Atlantic Ocean was completed– and the world became materially smaller.

Cover for a 1858 musical composition commemorating the cable (source: Naval Historical Center); click here or on image to enlarge

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