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News: Updated July 30, 2000

Solar effects

The future will be written by what we do here on earth *and* how well we adapt to and are prepared for changes to the Sun that will affect life and death on this planet.

The links and discussion forums that are listed below are meant to keep you informed and communicating regarding this subject.

Ask us to post links to Sun pages that you know of. News

Solar Effects

From May 17, 2000 Links to resources regarding how the Sun effects our global circumstances...

It's all in the star.

Solar Effects Participatory News [participatory/news] posts here.

NOAA National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration - Source: NASA

Space Environment Center

Providing space weather alerts and warnings to the nation and the world for disturbances that can affect people and equipment working in space and on Earth... [visit]

Advisories [visit]

Latest Space Weather [visit]

Geomagnetic Data [visit]

Solar Images [visit]

NOAA Space Weather Scales - Source: NASA

Calculating the effects of solar weather on Earth/near Earth sysytems. Includes Geomagnetic Storms, Solar Radiation Storms and Radio Blackouts

The NOAA Space Weather Scales were introduced in November 1999 as a way to communicate to the general public the current and future space weather conditions and their possible effects on people and systems. Many of the SEC products describe the space environment, but few have described the effects that can be experienced as the result of environmental disturbances. These scales then should be useful to users of our products and those who are interested in space weather effects. The scales describe the environmental disturbances for three event types: geomagnetic storms, solar radiation storms, and radio blackouts. The scales have numbered levels, analogous to hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes that convey severity. They list possible effects at each level. They also show how often such events happen, and give a measure of the intensity of the physical causes... [visit]

The Solar and Heliosheric Observatory - Source: NASA

SOHO What's New

News from The Solar and Heliosheric Observatory... [visit]

Daily news of current solar activity conditions, sunspots, geomagnetic storms and more... [visit]

Sunspot Cycle Predictions

Predicting the behavior of a sunspot cycle is fairly reliable once the cycle is well underway... [visit]

Home of the Northern Lights - Source: Jan Curtis

I have received many questions concerning the best place and time of year to view the Northern Lights... [more]

Auroral Activity Observation Network

Global maps showing auroral activity... [visit]

Hourly STD DMSP/POLAR Auroral Activity Report

Use this web page to obtain current auroral activity sighting reports from around the world... [visit]

Solar Storms and You! - Source: NASA

Scientists have found that there is a possible correlation between the average ocean temperature and the solar sunspot activity. By comparing the results from the data that has been collected since the 1800's to the present, scientists have found a possible pattern.

Polar Substorm

On March 2, 2000, NASA's Polar satellite spotted a geomagnetic storm triggered by a gust of solar wind. [read]

Remote Sensing Data and Information - Source: NASA

Ask A Space Scientist - Source: NASA


How are sun spots related to Earth's weather?


We don't know exactly. During the 1600's, there were no sun spot cycles observed, and Europe was in the grip of what climatologists call the Little Ice Age. Since 1700, there have been more or less regular cycles of typical length 11 years. Careful measurements of the luminosity of the Sun from satellite observations have shown that, when sun spots are present, the Sun is actually brighter, even though the spots themselves are dark! [more]


Will my computer crash because of a solar storm?


Probably not, but there are several ways that this could happen. Severe solar storms can, and do, affect the power grid. They can trigger actual black outs like the one that happened in Quebec in March 1989, and they can cause temporary instabilities in the power levels. These are not the 'spikey' kinds of events that most computer power supplies can protect against, but long-term surges and sags lasting several minutes or hours. If transformers get over heated from the induced DC currents produced by geomagnetic storms, then you could end up with localized problems in the grid that supplies your neighborhood. In Canada they have lots of problems with geomagnetic storm currents that get induced into their power grid and local brownouts are rather common during strong auroral displays. In the United States, though, we rarely have these events in our electrical system. [more]


How does the solar wind affect the Earth?


It affects it by the intense clouds of high energy particles that it often contains which are produced by solar storms. When these clouds, called coronal mass ejections, make their way to the Earth in 3-4 days, they collide with the magnetic field of the Earth and cause it to change its shape. [more]

Basic guide to our Sun - Source: NASA

Search results for 'solar and sun' - Source: NASA

Ask A Physicist Sun-Earth Connections - Source: NASA


What if there was a solar flare or electro-magnetic pulse so violent that while biological life was mostly unaffected, communications satellites, power grids, and electronics of all kinds went out of service indefinitely? Can unusually strong solar activity physically damage electrical and electronic equipment significantly and permanently? Could equipment be shielded to prevent such interference?


I don't think that there is any way solar activity could destroy our electronics "permanently" without wiping out the human race. We can shield against virtually anything that is survivable, and there are communication methods that don't use radio waves (laser, fiber optic, etc.). Solar activity could take out electronics and certainly communications in the short term, but with some work, I'm pretty sure we would deal with it.

Solar Image Index - Source: Presented by the Space Environment Center

Sample Image

Sample solar image

Image index of daily solar activity by date. How To Use: Go to index page... Refer to the columns at the right for the year you are interested in. Click on a month in that column. The daily solar image pages available for that month and year will appear in the far right column. Finally, select the particular day you are interested in, and a new page will appear showing the solar images received that day. The current month is shown by default.

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