Solar Storm Watch: A Pleasant Aurora or Power Grid Buster?

2012 is shaping up to be the year of the solar storm. In late January, the largest solar storm in years erupted, sending a cloud of particles streaming from the Sun toward Earth at 4.5 million mph. 


Now forecasters at NOAA's Space Weather Center have issued a warning that another storm -- potentially the biggest in five years -- is heading our way. When the charged particles released from Sun crash into us between 1AM EST and 5AM EST early Thursday morning, the event could disrupt power grids, satellites, air travel and GPS systems.

On the bright side, the high latitude regions of North America could be treated Thursday evening to the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights. That is, if the full moon doesn't spoil the show. 

The sun right now is reaching the peak of an 11-year cycle. When the last peak happened in 2002 scientists learned that while solar storms don't affect people, they wreak havoc on technology, such as GPS. What other new technological systems might be affected remains to be seen.

Here's the image from NASA:

Image courtesy of NASA.

Follow Daniel Honan on Twitter: @DanielHonan

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

What’s behind our appetite for self-destruction?

Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?

Photo by Brad Neathery on Unsplash
Mind & Brain

Each new year, people vow to put an end to self-destructive habits like smoking, overeating or overspending.

Keep reading Show less

34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America

A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.

Politics & Current Affairs
  • Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
  • The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
  • According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
Keep reading Show less

Douglas Rushkoff – It’s not the technology’s fault

It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.

Think Again Podcasts
  • It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
  • Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
Keep reading Show less