Ra the sun god has woken from his sleep and the latest news from SpaceWeather.com is that there has been an enormous sunspot 1045 that is crackling with M-class solar flares. The active region has produced three M-class and almost a dozen C-class solar flares since it appeared on Saturday.The strongest blast, an M6-class eruption on February 7th, hurled a coronal mass ejection toward Earth which is due to arrive on the 9th or 10th. NOAA forecasters estimate a 30% chance of high-latitude geomagnetic activity. Some amazing photographs of the Northern lights from Saturday 7th February can be found at various places on the Internet including one by Fredrik Broms of Kvaløya, Norway that is shown on SpaceWeather.com
“The Olympics could be bang in the middle of a solar maximum,” said Richard Harrison, of the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Oxfordshire, speaking before the launch of Nasa’s Solar Dynamics Observatory.
Well as far as I am concerned it could not happen at a better time. I really hate these big sporting events that dominate TV, radio and the newspapers for weeks either side of the actual events. It could mean that while half the world watches the sportsmen and women chasing gold I can work the world on a HF band that is wide open but not that busy because most people are stuck in front of their TVs.
The soothsayers are suggesting that the whole show could be wiped out by a big solar flare. Apparently all the satellites will fall out of he sky and every electronic device that is switched on will be rendered useless. Um! Sounds like the millennium bug all over again. Oh well! If it does happen my radio in a biscuit tin might be the only communication we have and I might have to break out the bicycle when we find the car's computer is fried. Sounds like chaos, sounds like we should prepare of anarchy, sounds like we should not take too much notice of the rubbish in the newspapers, well at least until it happens.
There is a good video at the Times on-line along with an article by Hanna Devlin and some ignorant, humorous and even some well informed comments.