The excerpted article below is relevant to my previous post – A “Smart” Vulnerable Grid – Investing in Ashes?
By MARK DUNPHY – Thu Aug 18, 9:09 am (2011)
solar activity and the threat that coronal mass ejections (CME) pose to Earth has prompted NASA to convene a news briefing at its Headquarter building in Washington on Thursday afternoon….
The briefing will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website at 2:00 PM EDT (7:00 PM GMT).
A massive solar flare, the largest recorded in four years, occurred last Tuesday prompting fears the blast could result in some disruption to Global Positioning Satellites (GPS) or communication signals around the world.
Solar flares happen when the powerful magnetic fields in and around the sun reconnect. They’re usually associated with active regions, often seen as sun spots, where the magnetic fields are strongest. The most powerful flare on record was in 2003, during the last solar maximum. It was so powerful that it overloaded the sensors measuring it. The current solar cycle will peak in 2013.
A powerful X-class flare can create long lasting radiation storms, which can harm satellites and even give airline passengers, flying near the poles, small radiation doses. X flares also have the potential to create global transmission problems and world-wide blackouts.