Forecasting Solar Storms

NASA sees trouble on the sun before it gets to Earth

It was an eerie moment for owners of electronic pagers last May, when 45 million of the units across North America suddenly flickered and died. The blackout was caused not by some routine equipment failure but by a massive storm on the surface of the sun that shorted out an Earth-orbiting communications satellite. Such solar typhoons are not uncommon, and the damage they do can be considerable. Last week NASA announced that it may now be possible to predict the storms and take action to limit their impact.

The most violent type of solar eruption is known as a coronal mass...

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