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Strongest Solar Storm Since 2005 Striking Earth

National Weather Service expects Coronal Mass Ejection to arrive at approximately 9 a.m. on Jan. 24.

The strongest solar storm since 2005 is currently underway, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

The storm has peaked – but is not over – with the Coronal Mass Ejection expected to arrive at 9 a.m. Tuesday morning. A Coronal Mass Ejection or CME is a cloud of electrified, magnetic gas hurled into space at speeds as fast as 2,000 kilometers per second. When these CMEs strike Earth’s magnetic field, magnetic storms can result. The NASA website states magnetic storms may affect satellites, radio communications and power systems.

“We have received reports that at least some airline flights over the north pole have been rerouted and that some other flights at high latitudes are flying at lower altitudes,” stated the NWS Space Weather Prediction Center on its Facebook page.

In 1989, a solar storm caused a massive blackout in Quebec, USA Today reported.

The NWS has categorized the solar storm as a G2 (moderate) geomagnetic storm with G3 levels possible. The storm is expected to continue through Wednesday.

National Geographic reports that Northern Lights could possibly be seen as far south as Texas and Georgia if the storm reaches strong enough levels.

“Exactly how intense and widespread the sky show will be depends on how our planet’s magnetic field is oriented at the time when the storm arrives,” according to the National Geographic website.

But what about the astronauts on the International Space Station?

"The flight surgeons have reviewed the space weather forecasts for the flare and determined that there are no expected adverse effects or actions required to protect the on-orbit crew," NASA spokesman Kelly Humphries told SPACE.com.

For the latest space weather forecast, follow the NWS Space Weather Prediction Center on Facebook.

North Georgia Weather January 24, 2012 at 11:16 AM
This is but a glancing blow over the northern polar region and not a direct hit. Go here http://www.daculaweather.com/space.php and scroll down to the left. You can see on the graph where the solar flux peaked yesterday. Occasionally images won't be available on that page and you'll see 018 errors... FWIW.
North Georgia Weather January 24, 2012 at 11:18 AM
And these are basically plasma blobs. It's almost like someone shooting a sunflower husk out of their mouth...at least that's our definition in the south. :-)
North Georgia Weather January 24, 2012 at 11:32 AM
If you want to get real geeky about it... A CME resulting from the M8.7/2B LDE Proton 10 Flare at 23/0359Z in region 1302 is expected to reach us about 24/1418Z +/- 7 hours. Active to major Gemag storm levels with possible severe storm periods are expected. Observers are advised to watch the Gemag reports closely during the 7 hours prior to 1418Z in case the CME arrives early since the midnight to dawn sector is the best for auroral activity. Looks the Kiwis and Aussies luck out again if it comes on time. A S3 Radiation is in progress.
North Georgia Weather January 24, 2012 at 11:43 AM
Go here and they have a example of a CME discharge. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coronal_mass_ejection
North Georgia Weather January 24, 2012 at 06:01 PM
I've added an image of a chart of the flux hitting the earth.
North Georgia Weather January 24, 2012 at 06:07 PM
It is now the largest radiation storm since 2003.
North Georgia Weather January 24, 2012 at 06:28 PM
REALLY cool page to see the effects of the CME http://www.solarham.com/
Kristi Reed (Editor) January 24, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Thanks for the update Steve!
Mitch January 24, 2012 at 07:59 PM
Yes, very geeky indeed! Let me know when you translate that to english :) I love me some weather, but you take the cake man. Great work!
North Georgia Weather January 24, 2012 at 09:53 PM
LOL!!! Sorry! Get carried away with this stuff!
North Georgia Weather January 24, 2012 at 09:56 PM
We are at a S3 level (Strong) and here's what that means: Biological: radiation hazard avoidance recommended for astronauts on EVA; passengers and crew in high-flying aircraft at high latitudes may be exposed to radiation risk.*** Satellite operations: single-event upsets, noise in imaging systems, and slight reduction of efficiency in solar panel are likely. Other systems: degraded HF radio propagation through the polar regions and navigation position errors likely. ------ The highest level is S5 which is severe.
North Georgia Weather January 24, 2012 at 09:58 PM
We have S3's about 10 times out of the 11 year cycle. S4's occur approximately 3 times per cycle and S5 once per cycle.

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