Massive Solar Storm Hits Earth

Rerouting airplanes isn’t a big deal, but could there be dangers from the radiation? Doug Cameron reports for the Wall Street Journal:

Delta Air Lines Inc. said Tuesday that it was rerouting some transpolar flights between Asia and the U.S. to avoid the impact of the largest solar storm in almost a decade.

The Atlanta-based carrier said some flights to Detroit from Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul took a more southerly routing on overnight flights, though a spokesman said planes flew faster to keep schedules intact. Tuesday departures from the U.S. were expected to follow similar routes.

A rare solar flare erupted late Sunday night resulting in a solar radiation storm today, according to NASA. It’s the strongest such storm since September 2005, according to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center.

Airlines occasionally reroute transpolar flights as a precautionary measure during big solar storms, with radiation levels heightened near the poles because of the relatively thin ozone layer. The region is also more prone to the disturbance of navigation and communication systems because of the convergence of magnetic field lines at the poles.

A huge solar storm on the sun Monday spewed out a stream of charged particles that hit the Earth earlier Tuesday. The Space Weather Prediction Center of the U.S. National Weather Service said it was the largest solar storm since October 2003.

The biggest issue is radiation, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado…

[continues in the Wall Street Journal]


Majestic is gadfly emeritus.

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4 Comments on "Massive Solar Storm Hits Earth"

  1. Liam_McGonagle | Jan 25, 2012 at 12:25 pm |

    Newt Skywalker to the Rescue!

  2. chinagreenelvis | Jan 25, 2012 at 12:50 pm |

    I think the article answers your question: “The radiation is mostly a concern for satellite disruptions and astronauts in space. It can cause communication problems for polar-traveling airplanes, said space weather center physicist Doug Biesecker.”

  3. Since 2005 -Not 2003

  4. Anarchy Pony | Jan 25, 2012 at 10:13 pm |

    Not big enough. Come on Sol, show us what you really got!

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