A huge eruption on the Sun has caused the strongest radiation storm since 2005, which is due to hit Earth on Tuesday, Jan 24, possibly causing widespread communications interference.
The eruption occurred late on January 22, 2012 sending a burst of energized solar particles towards Earth at about 5 million miles an hour (2,000 km per second).
SpaceWeather.com ranks this geomagnetic storm “strong” or S3, meaning it may expose passengers in high-flying aircraft to radiation risk, disrupt satellite operations and degrade HF radio communications.
There is no risk to people on Earth, but polar flights are expected to be re-routed as a precaution measure. Furthermore, NASA expects “no adverse effects” for the six astronauts aboard the International Space Station.
The radiation storm has one other interesting side effect – stronger than normal displays of Earth’s auroras. Expect some beautiful aurora pics to pop up on the Internet in the days to come.