Fresh solar storm coming to Earth - Astronauts take shelter.
by shawnlin - 12/14/06 10:58 AM
Solar storm headed for Earth
By Robert Roy Britt
(SPACE.com) -- Space weather forecasters revised their predictions for storminess after a major flare erupted on the sun overnight threatening damage to communication systems and power grids while offering up the wonder of Northern Lights.
"We're looking for very strong, severe geomagnetic storming" to begin probably around mid-day Thursday, Joe Kunches, Lead Forecaster at the NOAA Space Environment Center, told SPACE.com this afternoon.
The storm is expected to generate aurora or Northern Lights, as far south as the northern United States Thursday night. Astronauts aboard the international space station are not expected to be put at additional risk, Kunches said. (Watch a solar flare Video)
Radio communications, satellites and power grids could face potential interruptions or damage, however.
Solar flares send radiation to Earth within minutes. Some are also accompanied by coronal mass ejections (CME), clouds of charged particles that arrive in a day or two. This flare unleashed a strong CME that's aimed squarely at Earth.