Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Earth in crosshairs of gigantic solar storm that could blow circuits of ANYTHING from satellite TV to the electric power grid

A sunspot, 62,000 miles across - so big it would dwarf the Earth - is releasing gigantic solar flares that could in theory wreak havoc with electrical communications ranging from handheld electronics such as iPhones to sections of the power grid.

Nasa has detected two X-class solar eruptions from 1302 – the most extreme possible – in the past week. One that occurred on September 24 produced an amazing light show over England last night – but it’s far from over, as the sunspot isn’t yet directly aligned with Earth.

NASA experts have said 'anything electrical' can be affected by such activity.

Known as ‘Active Region 1302’, it is producing bursts of radiation so intense that spectacular auroras, caused by the sun’s particles hitting the atmosphere, have been seen as far south as Oxfordshire.

Astronomer Dr Ian Griffin, CEO of Science Oxford, told MailOnline: ‘Active Region 1302 is the source of all of the auroras seen yesterday, and may well be the source of some more auroras over the next few nights. more