Danger from solar storms not averted

Danger from solar storms not averted

This is what astrophysicist volker bothmer of the university of gottingen told the news agency dpa. The corresponding region on the sun is still active, he said.

Stroke side effect of the storms from space: polar lights are easy to observe in northern regions. For example, a wonderful spectacle could be marveled at in the sky over iceland.

The solar storm that hit the earth on thursday had much less impact than feared. There were only a few disruptions to radio traffic in the north polar region, reported werner curdt of the max planck institute for solar system research (MPS) in katlenburg-lindau in lower saxony. "Otherwise nothing happened."

A new solar storm, though ten times smaller than the previous one, could hit earth on friday night and likely lead to clearly visible auroras, curdt said. However, this solar storm is not expected to have any serious impact on power grids or GPS navigation equipment, for example. "I believe that nothing will happen this time either."

According to expert joe kunches of the u.S. Weather agency NOAA (national oceanic and atmospheric administration), the storm’s magnetic field was favorably aligned when it met the earth’s magnetic field on thursday: both ran northwest. There were no serious consequences.

NOAA had initially expected the storm to have a strong geomagnetic intensity, ranking G3 on the scale from G1 (weakest) to G5 (strongest). On thursday, it downgraded the intensity.

Solar activity fluctuates every eleven years or so and has been increasing again since 2010: solar storms are becoming more frequent and more intense. The reason for the fluctuations in activity is the rhythm of gas transport in the eclipses of the sun.

Severe solar storms can disrupt satellites, electrical systems, navigation systems such as GPS, and radio communications. In 2003, such a storm caused, among other things, a power outage in sweden lasting several hours, a failure of the european airborne radar, the postponement of more than 60 flights in the u.S. And the loss of the "midori 2" research satellite.