Aug 272011
Saffir–Simpson Hurricane Scale

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The unprecedented move to shutdown the entire MTA system in New York has now taken effect. Irene continues her Northward path of destruction towards the Big Apple. Most streets are deserted as the Category 1 hurricane makes an unprecedented landing.  It is bad enough when heavy rains already overpower most Manhattan city streets, this storm promises to turn those streets to lakes and rivers. The city will be cleaning up for days. Then again, it might cleanup some of the streets too.

Aug 172011

In a surprise announcement, NASA has scheduled a special news briefing tomorrow afternoon at 2 PM (EST) at their Washington D.C headquarters building to discuss new details about the structure of solar storms and the impact they have on Earth. The new information comes from NASA’s Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory, or STEREO, spacecraft and other NASA probes.

The briefing will take place in NASA Headquarters’ James E. Webb Auditorium, located at 300 E St. SW in Washington, and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

The briefing panelists are:
— Madhulika Guhathakurta, STEREO program scientist, NASA Headquarters
— Craig DeForest, staff scientist, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.
— David Webb, research physicist, Institute for Scientific Research, Boston College
— Alysha Reinard, research scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Colorado, Boulder
The briefing will be broadcast live on NASA TV:

Aug 092011

4AM this morning and Earth directed. An X flare is the worst type of Sun eruption possible. This is a big one traveling on a fast solar wind.
UPDATED 8-10-11: The brunt of the explosion was not Earth directed. Radiation from the flare created waves of ionization in Earth’s upper atmosphere disrupting communications at some VLF and HF radio frequencies. Any further effects will surface tomorrow and the 12th.

Aug 052011
Artist's rendition of Earth's magnetosphere.

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The last few days has brought the busiest solar activity in months. Several Class M flares (one as high as 9.0 on a 10 point scale) were Earth directed over the last 72 hours and are now arriving together.  In the past few hours, a strong disturbance in the solar wind was measured by the ACE spacecraft. Local geomagnetic measurements indicate a K=5 storm will be arriving over the next several hours. Be prepared for greater aurora displays at lower Northern latitudes, potential communication interruptions and possible earthquake disturbances.

Related stories:

CNN story on latest solar flares to hit earth

National Geographic  reports on solar flares and impact to our infrastructure