Solar storms can destroy sensitive power grids and satellite systems, potentially costing billions of dollars, so NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is putting in place an early warning system to detect the Sun’s mega-storms that are heading Earth’s way. NASA hopes to give operators of sensitive hardware a timely warning so they can take steps to limit damage.

Satellite operators often turn their satellites away from a solar storm if they can, reduce their power output and hope the space storm passes. On Earth, electrical grid utilities can suffer blackouts in their power systems as the Earth’s magnetic fields get charged up by the Sun’s high-energy particles, and are distorted by the energy they carry, often leading to overloads in transformers and power lines from the large currents flowing in the upper atmosphere and also in the Earth’s surface soil.

Major solar storms occur around every 100 years when the sun has a coronal mass ejection. In 1859, a storm called the Carrington Event disrupted worldwide telegraph services but there weren’t many high-power devices in use around the world – unlike today, when recent storms in 1989 (Quebec, Canada was blacked out) and 2003 caused electrical grid problems in the US, Canada, Great Britain and other countries.

The solar storms also make spectacular auroras, make compass needles go crazy and even make electrical currents flow in the surface soil. With today’s high-power electrical grids built across the countryside of all industrial countries, a perfect storm would cause a major blackout as the grids respond to the induced currents, causing widespread disruption.

The NASA Solar Shield would attempt to measure corona mass ejections (CMEs), and predict their path toward Earth, and with the major solar storm season just starting and with severe storms predicted to be likely in 2013, it would be a good time to put a warning system in place.

Via SpaceDaily 1 & 2

Via:www.greenmuze. соm

Eco Info