Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Solar Flares Light Up the Night Sky

Solar Flares Light Up the Night Sky - The sun has blasted the earth with radiation in the biggest solar storm since 2005 and stargazers in southern Victoria and Tasmania could be in for a celestial treat. Charged particles from a solar flare began hitting Earth on Monday, with space weather experts warning the rush of radiation could disrupt global positioning system signals and electrical grids in polar regions. The storm could already be disrupting satellite communications as streams of radiation from the sun bounce across the Earth's magnetic field, which extends above the surface into space. ''With the radiation storm in progress now, satellite operators could be experiencing trouble, and there are probably impacts as well to high frequency [radio] communications in polar regions,'' physicist Doug Biesecker of the Space Weather Prediction Centre in Colorado told The Washington Post. Radio blackouts could force airlines to reroute flights between North America and Europe or Asia. Stargazers in southern Victoria and Tasmania may have witnessed auroras in the sky last night and the bursts of colourful light will also be visible tonight, Marc Duldig, president of the Australian Institute of Physics said. But he said the storm was unlikely to affect flights, electrical grids and satellite communication in Australia. Solar Flares Light Up the Night Sky

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