Biggest solar flare in years set to blast Earth’s atmosphere; could impact GPS, communication, power grids

Solar flare to hit earthA massive solar flare could make for a beautiful night for people in the northern United States – provided it doesn’t knock the lights out.
Common sense but, if you don’t need to have it(computers,radios,chargers,etc) turned on or plugged in right now, you should go ahead and turn it off and unplug it. I am not a “doom and gloom” kind of person, more it just makes sense that if there is an event (this thing hits us) and the device is not connected to the grid it will be more likely to survive. I digress…

The blast of charged particles unleashed from the sun earlier this week has been peppering the Earth over the last few days, but it’s biggest punch is expected to hit the Earth’s atmosphere on Thursday.

Monday’s eruption, considered an X-class flare, is the biggest solar flare in four years. It is already being blamed for disrupting radio communication in China, and could potentially affect power grids and satellite communication around the globe.

However, for the United States, the most likely outcome from this latest space storm could be a colorful night sky over New England and even parts of New York State.

“It won’t hit us dead-on,” physicist Dean Pesnell, project scientist for NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, told National Geographic.

The moon may make it difficult to see, but stargazers may be able to catch a reddish glow among the stars.

x-class solar flare will not be a direct hit“X-class flares are the most powerful of all solar events that can trigger radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms,” NASA said on Tuesday.

The China Meteorological Administration reported that Monday’s solar flare caused “sudden ionospheric disturbances” in the atmosphere above China and jammed short-wave radio communications in the southern part of the country.

And Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency reported there was a high probability that large solar flares would appear over the next three days.

Solar flares in 2006 are blamed for causing disruptions of GPS systems, according to New Scientist magazine. Another in 1973 knocked out power in Canada, impacted six million people.