Subj: Scientists Say Solar Flare
Could Disrupt Power
Date: 7/15/00 9:30:24 AM Pacific Daylight Time
From: email@example.com (New Millennium)
To: firstname.lastname@example.org (Newmill)
July 15 10:31 AM ET
Scientists Say Solar Flare Could Disrupt Power
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A huge solar flare produced by a large sunspot
group is expected to produce a geomagnetic storm that could disrupt
electric power grids and satellite operations, U.S. government
The flare spewed out billions of tons of plasma and charged particles
Friday that are expected to reach the Earth's magnetic field when it is
Saturday afternoon on the U.S. East Coast, the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.
NOAA's Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo., which detected the
flare, predicted that a geomagnetic storm could last until Monday. The
charged particles are making the 93 million mile trip toward Earth at 3
million mph, it said.
"The storm is expected to reach strong to severe levels ... which can
adversely affect satellite operations and power grids," the center
warned in a statement Friday.
NOAA predicted similar disruptions last month after a solar flare
erupted on June 7. But the emissions from that flare were harmlessly
deflected by the Earth's magnetic shield, leaving electricity, satellite
and communications companies with only minor problems.
The latest solar flare already has caused some effects on Earth,
including radio blackouts on the sunlit side of the planet, the center
The solar activity also should give mid-latitude areas, including the
U.S. cities of Washington, New York, Denver and Seattle a good chance of
seeing the Aurora Borealis on Saturday night through Sunday morning, the
NASA's ACE satellite, in orbit about 1 million miles from Earth, will
detect any approaching geomagnetic storms and provide NOAA with a
warning about an hour before they reach Earth's magnetic field, it said.
The recent flares erupted during largest solar radiation storm since
October 1989, the center said.
In March of 1989, a solar storm knocked out the electrical system in all
of Quebec and destroyed a large power transformer in New Jersey.