Strongest solar radiation storm since 2005

NOAA experts available for interviews

January 23, 2012

NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center – the nation’s official source of warnings and alerts about space weather and its impacts on Earth – has issued a watch for a geomagnetic storm associated with a bright flare on the sun Sunday evening. The storm could arrive Tuesday morning, with possible impacts to navigation, the power grid and satellites.

Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC) forecasters have also issued a warning for ongoing "strong" solar radiation storming. Radiation storms are a concern for astronauts, communications at high latitudes, satellites in space and rocket launches. Geogmagnetic storms (G-scale) and solar radiation storms (S-scale) range from 1 (minor) to 5 (extreme).

NOAA’s space weather experts are available to discuss this event, which represents the strongest radiation storm in more than six years, and potential impacts.

Associated with Sunday’s flare was a “coronal mass ejection,” a burst of charged particles and magnetic field that streamed out from the sun at about four million miles an hour. The coronal mass ejection (CME) is heading toward Earth. NOAA’s SWPC predicts it will trigger onset of a geomagnetic storm on Tuesday morning EST, with storm intensity likely to be moderate (G-2), possibly strong (G-3).

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Find us on Facebook.