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Solar Storm Northern Lights

January 29, 2012 by staff 

Solar Storm Northern Lights, The sun will be sending out more flares, like this one, in the coming months. Alert your travel agent – Mr. Sun is angry and we’ll likely see solar storm sequels and more sky shows. We’re due for about one a month, say solar physics experts, for the next year or two.

“The solar cycle is increasing and so, we are going to get more storms,” says University of Michigan space weather expert Tamas Gombosi. “It’s not the end of the world, there is no Maya 2012 nonsense going on,” he adds, a reference to the notion, widely debunked by scholars , that the classic Maya civilization predicted the end of the world for December of this year.

Instead, we’ll likely see more light shows just like the one delivered by the strong “S3″ class solar radiation storm (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scales solar storms from S1 to S5, the strongest, a heavenly version of their hurricane ratings). The S3 storm glanced against the Earth’s magnetic field starting Jan. 23, helping to fill the skies in northern climes with a staggering light show the next evening, the famed aurora borealis.

“Once an eruption happens on the sun, even the biggest ones, we’ll have at least a day’s warning, Gombosi says. As you likely recall from junior high, the sun typically waxes and wanes in outbursts on an 11-year scale, which can vary a few years on either side of that scale.

The sun launched another salvo from a solar flare on Friday. So, stay tuned.

German astronomer Samuel Heinrich Schwabe first noted the cycle in 1843. Schwabe was looking for “Vulcan,” a planet then theorized to orbit closer to the sun than Mercury. Vulcan was a bust, but while making some 8,486 drawings ( still kept by the Royal Astronomical Society in London) of the sun over decades of observations he saw a pattern. , Working with telescopes designed to look safely at the sun, Schwabe discovered the cycle of a relatively untroubled solar surface followed by outbursts of sunspots and other disturbances, the ones that spawn solar storms.

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