Surface of Sun Erupts With Powerful Flares

Strongest CME measured this year

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The sun's surface roils with geomagnetic activity. On Tuesday, the strongest storm recorded this year released radiation into space. Meteorologist Tom Kierein explains. Video courtesy of NASA.

    One of the largest solar flares in recent history hit earth early Thursday morning.

    A powerful series of storms roiled the surface of the sun, sending flares of electromagnetic activity heading towards Earth.

    The energy from the flares reached us at about 2 a.m. without incidence, according to NASA offcials.

    While solar flares have the potential to disrupt terrestrial communication systems, the series of eruptions that began on Sunday and have continued through the start of this week are not expected to have a significant impact on satellite and radio communication.

    On Thursday morning, officials said there were no reports of problems with power grids, GPS, satellites or other technologies, according to the Associated Press.

    The flare, also called a coronal mass ejection, ranked as an X-class storm, the strongest type of geomagnetic storm on the sun's surface.

    The National Weather Service predicts continuing solar activity for the next few days. Radiation emitted from the earlier flares is expected to reach Earth but only as a "glancing blow," causing limited disruptions.  Long-range satellite communications, like GPS devices, may be temporarily affected.

    Star gazers showed up to the Ruben H. Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park Wednesday night to try and watch a spectacular display of the Northern Lights.

    "Sometimes you can see them as far south as San Diego. It's happened in the past," said Mike Dietz of the San Diego Astronomy Association. "So the next couple nights we may be going to the mountains hoping to see some of these auroras."

    SDG&E said they have personnel monitoring the electronic systems 24/7.

    "We are ready and prepared for anything that might arise," a spokesperson with SDG&E said.
     

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