Solar Storms; What You Need To Ask Your Power Company

September 13, 2014 10:48 AM

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Earlier this week two solar flares aimed in earth's direction erupted on the sun. What a spectacular picture from NASA has been making the rounds of the Internet; it's literally the muzzle flash of a stellar particle beam cannon looking right at us. Angling slightly above our planet's orbit, a gigantic blast of matter weighing many times our own earth called a coronal mass ejection or CME flies by in a cloud of charged particles. We will catch just the edge of it. It will make pretty aurora, an unhappy satellite or two, maybe a line of airliners following paths along the southern edge of the aurora instead of going the great circle route over the pole and you might even spot a savvy geek sporting a tin foil hat fashion statement this weekend.

It's not all fun and games. This particular solar flare was classified X1.6. X means intense but 1.6 is a number ranging from 1 to 9 where each number doubles the intensity. Above X9 are the super X storms; there's no upper limit number. According to NASA, the largest storm recorded since we've had ...

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