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Florida Hazards Watch Space Weather

A significant geomagnetic storm is expected to impact the Earth beginning early Thursday afternoon around 1:00 p.m. Eastern time, according to forecasters at the NOAA Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo. Impacts from this event can cause problems with High Frequency communications, satellite operations and induce currents in power grids. “It is a rare occurrence to have a strong event like this so late in the Solar Cycle,” said NOAA Space Weather Forecaster Larry Combs. The NOAA Space Environment Center is monitoring current space weather activity levels and gathering critical real-time space weather data, using the data for the best forecasts and outlooks. SEC is advising its customers—such as NASA, commercial airlines and electric power grid operators—of conditions that directly impact their operation.

Full Story at NOAA Website

What is Space Weather ?

Space weather is a relatively new field of science dedicated to the understanding of interactions between the sun and Earth, and to the forecasting of solar flares, magnetic storms and other space-related phenomena.

Solar flares zap a science satellite. A coronal mass ejection sparks a stunning display of aurora borealis. Blazing meteors streak through Earth's atmosphere. All these are examples of space weather.


Who Forecasts Space Weather?

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates the Space Environment Center at The role of the center is to provide 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.

Asteroid and Comets

  • Asteroid and Comet Impact Hazards NASA Ames Space Science Division:
  • The Torino Scale - The Torino Scale is a "Richter Scale" for categorizing the Earth impact hazard associated with newly discovered asteroids and comets. It is intended to serve as a communication tool for astronomers and the public to assess the seriousness of predictions of close encounters by asteroids and comets during the 21st century


How do sunspots affect conditions here on Earth?

The Earth is affected by both solar flares and sunspots. Solar flares emit high-speed particles which cause auroras, known in the northern hemisphere as Northern Lights.

Particles from solar flares can also disrupt radio communication, and the radiation from the flares can give passengers in airplanes a dose of radiation equivalent to a medical X-ray. Sunspots may have a long-term connection with the Earth's climate. Scientists are currently debating whether ice ages on Earth are related to the Sun having fewer sunspots than usual.


September 9, 2010 9:43

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