WASHINGTON D.C. A strong solar flare is blasting its way to Earth. It has been several years since Earth has had a solar storm of this size coming from sunspots smack in the middle of the sun, said Tom Berger, director of the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.

The flare on the sun hits “Extreme” on the forecasters’ scale, and such flares can result in power blackouts and disturb satellite, radio and television signals. The worst such disturbance occurred in the late 1800’s and was responsible for a major disruption in the telegraph system worldwide.

The energy emitted from such an event, overloads the wiring of electrical systems and can cause fires as it did during the 1880 event. That event resulted in a total communications black out for several hours and cost several hundreds of thousands of dollars to repair the damage caused by it.

Fortunately, this event is predicted to mostly miss Earth with the majority of the energy passing above the North Pole. The most recent calculations from satellite data show that the worst of the energetic particles streaming from the sun will pass harmlessly by the Earth, this time.

So while the power grid may see fluctuations because the storm will cause changes in Earth’s magnetic field, it shouldn’t knock power systems off line, Berger said. It may cause disturbances in satellites and radio transmissions. “We’re not scared of this one,” Berger said.

The storm is moving medium fast, about 2.5 million miles per hour, meaning the soonest it could arrive is early Friday. But it could be later, Berger said. Solar storms occur often, especially during peaks in the solar cycle, and don’t directly harm people.

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“There’s been a giant magnetic explosion on the sun,” Berger said. “Because it’s pointed right at us, we’ll at least catch some of the cloud” of highly energized and magnetized plasma that can disrupt Earth’s magnetic sphere, which sometimes leads to temporary power grid problems.

This is the second time in a week that the Earth has dodged a cosmic calamity. On Sunday we just missed a collision with a house sized asteroid by 25,000 miles. That is about the distance around the Earth at its widest point.

©2015 R. L. Grimes

About the Author

Richard is a freelance Journalist, who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. After his discharge he worked in Law Enforcement and Corrections for several years and was a member of SWAT before earning a degree in Computer Science. He was a consultant to government agencies including DEA, FBI, NRC, DOD and NASA. In the 90's he received a Business Management Degree and became a Consulting Analyst to several Fortune 100 companies. Later he taught G.E.D at Florida State Prison. He is married and has several grandchildren and great grandchildren. You can follow Richard on UniversalFreePress.com