Solar Storm Impacts Being Monitored, Auroras Possible

March 8, 2012, 8:40 AM HST · Updated March 8, 10:23 AM
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GOES Solar X-ray Imager NOAA National Weather Service Space Weather Prediction Center.

By Wendy Osher

Scientists are monitoring the effects of a large solar flare and geomagnetic activity that is sending charged particles towards Earth.

The Geomagnetic activity and solar storm was described as the largest in five years by various media outlets.

The impacts are being monitored today for potential disruption to GPS technology, satellite networks, and power grids.

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So far, NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center reports no significant impacts, noting that the field will continue to change as the event progresses.

Scientists say that based on overall strength, the predictions for periods reaching the G3 level look justified.

Impacts of a G3 reading could include intermittent satellite navigation, low-frequency radio navigation problems, and intermittent signals for high frequency radio.  Auroras may also be possible as low as Illinois and Oregon, however models indicate a view line much further north.

Additionally, the Solar Radiation Storm levels remained above the S3 (Strong) threshold this morning, with values rising momentarily.

Authorities say Region 1429, an active region of the sun, remains “potent” and subsequent activity remains a certain possibility.

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