Solar X-Flares Disrupt North American Radio And Navigation
The sun's largest and most active sunspot group gave birth to an enormous solar flare powerful enough to interrupt communications on the third planet.
A powerful solar flare disrupted radio and navigation signals across North America on Monday (Aug. 7) and prompted space weather forecasters to issue warnings because of energetic particles hitting Earth.
The flare, classified as an X1.5, was the 20th X flare the most potent solar flare category of the current 11-year solar cycle, which will reach its maximum next year.
Solar flares are energetic flashes of radiation that explode from magnetically dense, cool regions on the sun's surface known as sunspots. Traveling at the speed of light, the photons from these flares arrive at our planet in eight minutes.
As powerful and as dangerous as these events are, science fiction writers imagined cosmic storms that were even worse, as this excerpt from Jack Williamson's 1939 story After World's End demonstrates:
On the telescreen, the navigator showed me the storm. Against the familiar panorama of space; the velvety blackness, the hard changeless many-hued atoms of stars, the nebulous dust of silver against that stark eternal beauty sprawled an ugly cloud. It was many-armed, like an octopus of darkness, and it flickered with a weird angry green.
There it is, said the Saturnian. A condensation of matter so tenuous and vast that its gravitational energies never gathered it into a star. A true cosmic storm!
I'm fascinated by the idea of space weather maps and similar science fictional ideas: see these articles for more: