WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- The solar storm that caused several days of intense geomagnetic activity in Earth's atmosphere was even stronger than originally predicted, U.S. officials said.
"Earlier, it was stated that the current Solar Radiation Storm was the largest since May 2005," an announcement from a National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration division said.
"After the arrival of the CME [coronal mass ejection] earlier today ... this is now the largest Solar Radiation Storm since October 2003 (The Halloween Storms)," NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center said on its Facebook page.
On Sunday, a cluster of sunspots in an active region of the sun blasted a bubble of energized plasma -- composed mainly of high-energy protons -- in the general direction of Earth.
The blast -- known as a coronal mass ejection -- interacted with the Earth's magnetosphere beginning Tuesday, sparking a global geomagnetic storm.
Such storm can cause problems with satellite operation and radio communications, experts said.
"High latitude [radio] communications can be impacted," NASA solar physicist C. Alex Young told Discovery News.
"I have heard from colleagues that airlines have already had to reroute polar flights for up to two days because of communication blackouts at the poles."
|Additional Science News Stories|
MOUNT VERNON, Wash., May 23 (UPI) --The Skagit River Bridge in Skagit County, Wash., collapsed Thursday, sending the north and southbound lanes of Interstate 5 into the water, police said.
SEATTLE, May 24 (UPI) --Actor Morgan Freeman says he had a very good reason for appearing to sleep during a morning television interview with a Fox affiliate in Seattle this week.
LEICESTER, England, May 24 (UPI) --King Richard III of England was buried in a hastily dug grave too small for his body with no coffin or shroud, archaeologists say in a paper published Friday.