facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Earth had close brush with solar storm

Dec. 8, 2003 at 4:34 PM   |   Comments

BOULDER, Colo., Dec. 8 (UPI) -- A violent solar storm last October came closer than normal to causing earthbound disruptions, University of Colorado researchers said Monday.

Based on results obtained by NASA's SAMPEX satellite, the Halloween solar storm, as it was called, pushed Earth's protective Van Allen radiation belt inward, to the point where it came within 6,000 miles of the planet's surface, said Daniel Baker, director of the university's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.

"We have been observing the Van Allen belts for over 11 years with the SAMPEX spacecraft," said Baker. "We have never seen such a powerful enhancement and distortion of the radiation belts."

He noted the center of the outer Van Allen belt is usually about 12,000 miles to 16,000 miles away from Earth's surface.

The charged particles within the Van Allen belts can threaten commercial and other satellites in near-Earth orbits, and some satellite failures and operational problems did occur during and following the Halloween storm, Baker said.

Topics: Daniel Baker
© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Psychedelic mushrooms enable a hyperconnected brain Psychedelic mushrooms enable a hyperconnected brain
2
Endangered gray wolf may have been sighted at Grand Canyon Endangered gray wolf may have been sighted at Grand Canyon
3
Study: Earth has had water since birth of solar system Study: Earth has had water since birth of solar system
4
Google working on pill to detect cancer Google working on pill to detect cancer
5
SpaceX may soon start landing rockets on a platform after they've left Earth SpaceX may soon start landing rockets on a platform after they've left Earth
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback