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A Powerful Solar Storm Is Bringing Hazards and Rare Auroras Our Way (fastcompany.com) 72

tedlistens shares a report from Fast Company: The Space Weather Prediction Center has upgraded a geomagnetic storm watch for September 6 and 7 to a level only occasionally seen, but scientists say it's nothing to be too alarmed about. They do recommend looking for an unusual display of the aurora -- the northern lights caused by a disturbance of the magnetosphere -- in areas of the U.S. not used to seeing them: "really in the upper tier of the United States," says Robert Rutledge, lead of operations at the center, which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The storm could pose an "elevated radiation risk to passengers and crew in high-flying aircraft at far north or south latitudes," a NOAA warning says, and intermittently impact high frequency RF communications, which may require some transpolar flight routes to divert to lower geomagnetic latitudes (a shift that would cost the airlines more). There's a slim chance of isolated interfere with high-precision GPS readings, but those issues usually only tend to arise with stronger storms.

The so-called G3 level storm is the result of what's called a coronal mass ejection, where magnetic interactions on the sun launch part of its outer atmosphere of superheated plasma into space. When that burst of radiation gets near earth -- barreling toward us at a million miles per hour, it takes about two days to make the journey -- its magnetic field interacts with Earth's, Rutledge says. Northern U.S. and Canadian residents hoping to catch a glimpse of the aurora will get their best shot on Wednesday night and early Thursday, and the Space Weather Prediction Center posts 30-minute forecasts of the colorful sky phenomenon's intensity.

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A Powerful Solar Storm Is Bringing Hazards and Rare Auroras Our Way

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  • Every time I heard/read warnings of solar storms and their effects in the end it was kind of a non-event.

    • Every time I heard/read warnings of solar storms and their effects in the end it was kind of a non-event.

      Apparently, you don't get your internet access wirelessly. I have connection problems during pretty much every major solar storm, indeed far more than I do during regular storms.

      • Every time I heard/read warnings of solar storms and their effects in the end it was kind of a non-event.

        Apparently, you don't get your internet access wirelessly. I have connection problems during pretty much every major solar storm, indeed far more than I do during regular storms.

        You might want to re-analyze your data or look at the outside connection being the culprit. Your wireless doesn't operate in a band affected by geomagnetic storms that aren't severe enough to destroy the power grid. Only HF bands are affected and it's predictable and repetitive. Anyone who listens to WWV on 2.5-5MHz can experience it, but only barely, and even that's not as bad as lower bands. Your wireless operates on a MUUUUCCCHHH higher 2400MHz or 5000-5800MHz. The wavelength is much shorter, has le

    • Just because Satellite & Power Grid outages only happen occasionally doesn't mean they wont
    • Re:DON'T PANIC! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @08:58AM (#55147255)
  • . . . two major hurricanes, Lil' Kim threatening to deliver "gift packages", domestic unrest to the point of rioting in some places, and now this.

    I halfway expect Godzilla to emerge from Tokyo Bay, at this rate (grin)

    • I halfway expect Godzilla to emerge from Tokyo Bay, at this rate (grin)

      Picturing a Nissan GTR being dragged up from Tokyo harbour.

      • <quote>
        <p>Picturing a Nissan GTR being dragged up from Tokyo harbour.</p></quote>

        Thank you. I got the day's necessary healthy laugh from that. You rule! :-D
  • Because as best I can tell from the linked prediction animation, you need to be in Alaska to have a hope of seeing this, because all the other states are at least 4 degrees too far south.

    And Canada doesn't have a hell of a lot of people living north of James Bay, either.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      The predictions are 30 minutes forecasts, so its likely the storm hasn't hit the L1 point used for generating the 30 minute predictions yet. The animation is the last couple of days, not a projection.

    • In July the Auroras were visible as far south as Colorado I believe so it is possible for quite a bit of the US to see Auroras. Though an event like that doesn't come along very often but there is a chance any major Aurora event could appear further south than usual.

  • My subject is just mass skepticism mixed with a bad science and forecasting model coupled with some sick conspiracy to get people who live in the Northern US to stay up until the wee hours again like we all did in July 2017 [omaha.com]! This is even more bleak than last time based on their description.

    I will say: Why the heck is 'upper tier of the US' and 'areas of the US' even advertised in this article? That's garbage. Upper tier is Minnesota, North and some of South Dakota, Montana and anything else directly eas

    • <quote><p>My subject is just mass skepticism mixed with a bad science and forecasting model coupled with some sick conspiracy to get people who live in the Northern US to stay up until the wee hours again like we all did in <a href="http://www.omaha.com/news/nebraska/aurora-borealis-may-be-visible-in-parts-of-midwest-including/article_514b4a26-69be-11e7-8621-7fd446b764f1.html">July 2017</a>! This is even more bleak than last time based on their description.</p><p>I will
  • More coming? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ebcdic ( 39948 ) on Wednesday September 06, 2017 @09:46AM (#55147435)

    There have been two X class solar flares today, and the second was X9, which is the biggest of this solar cycle. So there may be more geomagnetic storms coming over the next few days.

    • The only thing that sucks is that I have to work and can't go up north to my lake property with its nice dark sky.
    • Is this a joke or are you being serious?

      If you're being serious, think about physics for a second. The magnetic loops in the areas that might blow again aren't pointed toward us anymore due to rotation and orbiting. I think we're good, man. All good, yo.
  • Between the Aurora and the eclipse we'll all be blinded. The Triffids will triumph.
  • "Oh, nos! It's happening again! I'll lose productivity at work because of failures in all of my electronic equipment. My car won't start. I feel cancer developing in my brain right now. I can't use my oven at home!

    The fact that I'm watching movies at work over my wireless provider connection is different because that isn't affected for some reason... and my air conditioning somehow still works. The fridge is fine. Those I can't explain, but everything else in my life is torn apart!!!

    *posts to Faceboo

An age is called Dark not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it. -- James Michener, "Space"

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