Tonight’s Huge Lightshow: 1 Billion Tons Of Charged Particles From The Sun Are Hitting You Right Now

by • January 25, 2012 • Nature, Science, SpaceComments (0)1537

The biggest solar radiation storm in eight years is taking place at this very moment.  Last night the storm gave Canada and Scandinavia a spectacular show, except for Montreal of course, which was smothered by a thick layer of grey cloud (picture yours truly getting all bundled up, going outside, looking up, yelling “SUN of a bitch!” then stomping back inside in a huff-and-puff).  The solar storm forced some utilities to boost power to compensate for electrical interference. It interfered with some satellite transmissions and forced some planes to reroute because of radio interference near the North Pole.  All around the top of the earth, solar particles colliding with the earth’s magnetic field created an aurora borealis (or northern lights) that was out of this world.  The particles first began to arrive last night at 9pm EST, but scientists first witnessed the 2 successive giant blasts 48 hours prior via the Solar And Heliospheric Observatory.  The massive solar flare shot out an epic cloud of protons, electrons and atomic particles (approximately 1 billion tons) racing towards Earth at 4,000,000 miles per hour (i.e. they could travel from Los Angeles to Paris in 5.1 seconds).  Douglas Beisecker who monitored the solar storm from the government’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado, told CBS This Morning, “This radiation storm is long lasting. These effects don’t come around very often, but when they do you have to live with them for several days.” 

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Source: CBS This Morning

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