solar flare

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The Sun Nearly Caused Nuclear War in 1967

Solar flares made it seem like the USSR was jamming US radars

(Newser) - The sun was nearly responsible for the Cold War going nuclear 50 years ago, according to a study released this week. On May 23, 1967, three US Ballistic Missile Early Warning System radar sites seemed to be jammed. CBS News reports it appeared to the US Air Force, which was... More »

White House Preparing for Catastrophic Solar Flares

'This is a real and present danger'

(Newser) - If a giant solar flare hit the Earth, it could knock out the entire power grid, meaning no more new Justin Bieber singles, no more televised presidential debates, and no more Facebook photos of babies. But it wouldn't be all good news. The Washington Post reports the electromagnetic pulse—... More »

Scientists Puzzled by Huge Sunspot

Magnetic burst deemed 'too complicated for us' to grasp

(Newser) - Scientists scratched their heads this week over a massive sunspot, partly because it posed no threat to human civilization. The burst of solar magnetic activity, one of the biggest on record, whipped up powerful flares but didn't spew coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that can bring down Earth's power... More »

Solar Storm Headed Our Way

It's relatively big, but no major problems expected for power grid

(Newser) - If by chance your GPS is acting a little weird tomorrow or Saturday, this might be why: A relatively big solar storm is coming our way, reports USA Today . Scientists say no major disruptions in the power grid are expected, but satellite operators are on alert. The sun unleashed a... More »

2012 Solar Blast Nearly Sent Earth to Stone Age

We almost lost electricity, GPS, running water, at least for a while

(Newser) - Imagine life without electricity or running water, and you'll understand what nearly befell our planet two years ago. Scientists say that on July 23, 2012, the sun belched its biggest solar flare in more than 150 years and barely missed us, CBS News reports. A week earlier and the... More »

NASA Captures Spectacular Solar Storm

Huge flare could have swallowed several Earths

(Newser) - The sun spat out a solar flare big enough to swallow the Earth several times over last week and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured the amazing sight. The filament, resembling a massive "solar whip," was ejected at 900 miles per second during the sun's eruption. NASA... More »

Solar Storm Tomorrow: Scientists Not Worried

No grid disruptions are expected

(Newser) - Another solar storm is hurtling toward Earth and will collide with our planet's magnetic field beginning tomorrow morning and lasting into Sunday. But don't fret, say scientists. The event is minor, and "we don't see any ill effects to any systems," says a space forecaster.... More »

In Time for the 4th: Solar Fireworks?

Electrically charged particle belch could light up sky

(Newser) - The most intriguing fireworks tomorrow may already have been sparked 93 million miles from Earth. The sun yesterday belched out a major a M5.6-class solar flare—extremely close in power to a maximum X-class flare, notes Discovery . The flare from the large sunspot known as AR1515 produced waves of... More »

NASA Captures Massive Sun Blast

Huge solar explosion will affect spacecraft but not Earth

(Newser) - A blast of super-heated plasma big enough to scorch dozens of Earths erupted from the sun yesterday, providing NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory with stunning images. The coronal mass ejection, which followed a solar flare, was not aimed toward Earth, but two NASA spacecraft—including the Spitzer Space Telescope—will... More »

Huge Solar Flare Erupts on Sun

Huge explosion has potential to disrupt communication across Earth

(Newser) - The sun blasted out a massive solar flare last night, one that could have the potential to cause blackouts and other problems here on Earth, the Washington Post reports. The flare was an X5-class, the strongest category of flare, and, according to NOAA, "one of the largest solar flares... More »

Scientists Warn of 'Catastrophic' Solar Storm

1 in 8 chance of destructive megaflare by 2020

(Newser) - Prepare yourself for yet another potential disaster. Scientists are warning that we face a one-in-eight chance of a massive "catastrophic" solar storm by the year 2020. A colossal "megaflare" from the surface of the sun could cause trillions of dollars in damage to electrical systems, and could take... More »

Vast Solar Storm Flings Plasma Toward Earth

Some flights grounded as a precaution

(Newser) - A stream of charged plasma is headed toward Earth today, thanks to the biggest solar storm since 2005. The storm poses a small, manageable threat to satellites, power grids, and other high-tech hardware, and could cause some spectacular displays of light and color, the LA Times reports. The National Oceanic... More »

Solar Flare May Trigger Light Show Tonight

Expect some nice views of the northern lights in higher latitudes

(Newser) - It might pay to glance up at the sky late tonight. A solar flare that erupted from the sun on Thursday is sending a blob of charged gas toward Earth that could make for some dazzling displays of the northern lights, reports Space.com . (The higher latitudes, such as Alaska,... More »

Scientists Discover Way to Predict Sunspots

Researchers say they can provide 48 hours warning

(Newser) - Maybe we'll eventually be able to cross off solar flares as a possible way the world ends. Scientists at Stanford say they've developed a system to predict dangerous sunspots two days before they erupt, reports the San Francisco Chronicle . Using satellite data, they can detect the rumblings of... More »

Dramatic Solar Flare Could Mess With Things

It unleashed biggest firestorm of radiation in 5 years

(Newser) - The sun let loose a fiery explosion yesterday that could mess with GPS and communication satellites, power grids, and more, the National Weather Service warned today. “This one was rather dramatic,” an official from the NWS’ Space Weather Prediction Center tells the Telegraph . "We saw the initial... More »

Solar Storms Could Produce 'Global Katrina'

Solar flare could knock out GPS, other satellites, scientists warn

(Newser) - There’s a very good chance that sometime in the not-so-distant future, a severe solar storm could unleash an electromagnetic pulse on Earth, knocking out satellites, grounding air travel, and disrupting power grids around the world, scientists warned at an American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting. The UK’... More »

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