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NASA Space Communications Earth Science

Solar Flare Interferes With Radio, But No Big Auroras 37

Posted by timothy
from the well-that's-no-fun dept.
RedEaredSlider writes "The largest solar flare in several years has disrupted some communications, though it was not in the right position to create auroral displays visible from lower latitudes. The flare, which erupted on Feb. 15, sent what is called a coronal mass ejection, or CME, towards the Earth. A CME is billions of tons of charged particles, mostly protons." Most of the reported disruptions were in China, says the article.
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Solar Flare Interferes With Radio, But No Big Auroras

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/02/pictures/110218-solar-flares-aurora-borealis-northern-lights-photography/?source=link_fb20110218arcticnight#/valentines-day-aurora-borealis-bo-norway_32398_600x450.jpg

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 18, 2011 @10:25PM (#35251278)
    I was listening to radio in southern France, and if I'm not mistaken, that FM station I was listening to receives an uplink from a satellite and broadcast it back as is. It came out very wonky. The signal was still coming strong, but with silences and jitter.
  • by History's Coming To (1059484) on Friday February 18, 2011 @10:43PM (#35251384) Journal
    And watch the share price of optical fibre manufacturers shoot up. Long thin bits of wire are bad news in the long term, especially with such a huge (if weak) magnetic field and a star that likes to slap it about occasionally. I thought we got that with the whole Carrington Event and the telegraph system? We can't keep messing about for another fifty years, we need an EM-proof(ish) replacement for LongBitsOfWire (TM).
    • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Friday February 18, 2011 @11:08PM (#35251508) Homepage

      I recently watched an optical fibre being made. I already knew how they were made, but is was amazing how manual and labour intensive the process was.
      I just assumed the process of pulling the preform would be far more automated. This looked more like a lab experiment than manufacturing.

    • by evilviper (135110) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @04:54AM (#35252696) Journal

      We can't keep messing about for another fifty years, we need an EM-proof(ish) replacement for LongBitsOfWire (TM).

      You're an idiot. This was as powerful as solar flares get, yet, from TFA:

      the reported problems were with high-frequency radio communications.

      HF was deprecated for just about all practical uses, as soon as viable alternatives (ie. communications satellites) were introduced. Earthbound wires have been pretty well impervious to solar flares just about forever.

      The only real threat solar flares pose is to a few, already-overloaded, electrical transmission circuits which are operating at the edge of their capacity before the unexpected power-boost arrives. Other than that, it's a very insignificant bit of occasional static on the line. Nothing more.

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        The only real threat solar flares pose is to a few, already-overloaded, electrical transmission circuits which are operating at the edge of their capacity before the unexpected power-boost arrives.

        So basically, most of the lines in the USA? And especially in California, the most populous state?

  • by randomned (669691) on Friday February 18, 2011 @11:00PM (#35251464) Homepage
    Big auroras? Coronal mass ejections? not sure if this is safe for work.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...myself and a couple other friends & family members have been having absolute shit for reception on our Satellite radios since at least Wednesday. I can't help but wonder if it's related.

  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Saturday February 19, 2011 @12:08AM (#35251788)

    CBC reports Solar storm delivers auroral show [www.cbc.ca].

    • Auroras reported in Northern Canada? You mean, on an almost nightly basis throughout the year?

      • by H0p313ss (811249)

        Point is that the observed Aurora in Yellowknife is abnormal, so just 'cos y'all can't see it down in Texas doesn't mean the solar flare had no effect. But nice troll.

        • by jcarkeys (925469)

          The site records the aurora each night

          No, not abnormal

          • by H0p313ss (811249)

            Not abnormal that they occur. What was abnormal was the intensity... Were you born this stupid or did you have to study?

  • Sweeet, I'm going to blame all the next weeks unexplained network outages on "Atmospheric Radiation", and then I'm going to sight slashdot for proof.
  • Any problems reported on anyone's power grids? Extra credit for links to wonky looking oscillograph data.

  • I'm in China. My 60GB PS3 that ran perfectly for four years started doing the flashing red light. Stupid sun.
  • I knew it wasn't just the black heli's trying to block out my Boneyard! Something was definitely up w/SiriusXM reception around 6PM EST today... unless it was something else that has nothing to do with the flare. IANAAstrophysicist.
    • by adolf (21054)

      GPS went wonky on Friday for me, too, around 4PM.

      Terrible accuracy with lots of jitter. That is, when it even worked -- it would drop periodically, sometimes for several minutes. Very strange behavior for a day with clear, blue skies while driving on flat terrain with no obstructions.

  • My Casio Wave Ceptor radio-controlled watch has been having a hard time receiving WWVB's 60KHz signal for the last week. I'm in Oregon, but then late night long-distance transmissions are squirrely by nature.

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