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Future Solar Storm Could Interfere with the Power Grid and GPS


An eruption on the sun this week prompted warnings from the National Weather Service.


Business Insider - The outburst sent plasma and magnetically charged particles, called a coronal mass ejection (CME), speeding towards Earth. If those particles had hit our atmosphere just right, the NWS said, they could have inundated the planet in a geomagnetic storm that would interfere with power grids, GPS, and radio communications, and even affect satellites' orbits around Earth.


These impacts could have extended into the northern US and brought the aurora borealis — a reaction between solar particles and Earth's atmosphere — creeping down into regions from Pennsylvania to Iowa to Oregon.


But when the CME arrived on Wednesday, there were no northern lights in these lower states.


The space-weather branch of the National Weather Service had initially issued a watch for a "strong" geomagnetic storm on Thursday, but it downgraded the watch to "minor" after the CME's arrival.


This was because the CME's magnetic field was pointing north, according to Mike Hapgood, a space-weather consultant at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the UK. It would need to face south in order to wash far enough....READ MORE




Business Insider is an American financial and business news website founded in 2007 and owned by the German publishing house Axel Springer. It operates 14 national editions and an international edition. Several national editions are published in local languages.

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