Sun set for solar blast, but NOAA is ready
The NOAA says it's prepared for solar flares on the sun.
February 17th, 2011
12:28 PM ET

Sun set for solar blast, but NOAA is ready

It sounds like a Michael Bay movie - explosions on the sun affecting power grids, airlines, satellites.

But it's real, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it's about to happen, but it's highly unlikely to cause harm.

Tiny eruptions on the sun called solar flares (a more detailed description here from the BBC) have been happening for a few days, according to the NOAA. The activity signals that the sun, which is relatively quiet, is waking up, doing what one might call more vigorous stretching than it has done in about four years.

The flares could result in a dazzling show of Northern Lights. However, more serious consequences are described in a NOAA release. The flares "can blast Earth with magnetic events that can damage the electrical grid and temporarily damage radio and satellite telecommunications."

"We want people to know this is not, like, the mother of all events," said Joseph Kunches, a space scientist at the Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado. "What it means for the airlines is that they will adjust their routes, they know this is happening. Power grid operators have back-up plans, and they know what's happening."

NOAA has been in close communication with all aspects of industry that could be affected, he said.

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Filed under: Science • Space
soundoff (498 Responses)
  1. Bill

    I hope 12/21/2012 is it. We all have to die of something so why not die from the one event that has been argued about since the beginning of time? Just like in the movie Armegeddon, we all have a front row seat to the end of the Earth!

    February 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  2. driving

    very hot"" what about Hell' Seven time's hotter than any fire on Earth-----

    February 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Robert

    Bright and dark regions of the Sun in this solar X-ray image help researchers at NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center understand what sort of storms the Sun is sending toward Earth.
    The current forecast: Enhanced solar wind Wednesday (2/16/11) with magnetic storminess Thursday (2/17/11); effects could include temporary radio blackouts, re-routed airplanes, increased risk of damage to electrical grids and satellites – and brilliant auroras.

    February 17, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Turnuptheheat

    We could use some flares here in Minnesota. I am tired of seeing all this snow on the ground.

    February 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Andy


    February 17, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ramon F Herrera

    I blame Sarah Palin.

    February 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Donnie H.

    And now for a Fox News alert! As the time frame for the solar flares near some are asking just what exactly did President Obama know and when did he know it? Leading many to speculate that maybe this all tied to the Obama, Reid, George Soros triangle of doom. Leading some to say this is the biggest indiscretion by the Obama administration yet. Details at the top of the hour. Followed by an in depth look by our own Glenn Beck. Only on America's news channel. Fox News. We report. You decide...

    February 17, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kevin

    I like turtles.

    February 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. crazipinky12

    come on! its silly to believe in 2012, it wont happen. U people need to stop freaking out about solar flares. Its happens sometimes and it no big deal..... Relax, take a nap! 2012 jus a way to scare people away... so something could happen in that year but it would be good or bad. It wont destory our planet... TRust me !

    February 17, 2011 at 2:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • cam

      you really don't think that 12/21/2012 is going to happen? i promise you that it will. whow about this: i promise you that it will happen. you can absolutely take that to the bank. or vegas.

      February 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Destroyer

    Maybe this is what the FEMA coffins are all about!

    February 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |

    If the flares are the affect of what's causing the east coast to warm up then let those flares rip out of the sun's mighty a$$!!!

    February 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • CarlY

      Best comment EVER!

      February 17, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      Please hit Los Angeles. Thank you.

      February 17, 2011 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steffan Piper

      No. Los Angeles is just fine without anymore natural disasters. Besides, Southern California bankrolls most states operating budgets. You folks better pray nothing happen out here or you'll really be dealing with insolvency.

      February 18, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
    • angry ghetto

      HIDE YO KIDS HIDE YO WIFE, AND HIDE YO HUSBAND cuz hes rapin everyone out THERE

      February 18, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      Your my wife now, Dave.

      February 18, 2011 at 3:46 am | Report abuse |
  12. king of the world

    iim declaring myself king of the world

    February 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      You go girl!

      February 17, 2011 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • IceQueen

      Too late!!! My husband already declared himself king of the world.

      February 17, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • luis

      NO I am!!

      February 17, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • All hail!

      I, for one, welcome our new benevolent overlord as king of the world. All hail!

      February 17, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • IceQueen

      You're right, Allhail. There is no way I am allowing my husband to be king of THIS world.

      February 17, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • JACK

      @IceQueen, NO your husband declared "KING" to "YOUR WORLD" and you are his "SERVANT". GO to the Kitchen and bring him FOODS!

      February 17, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Roi

      No... I'm king of the world, and so's my wife.

      February 17, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Going John Galt

      Roi, a little nod to Monty Python. Nice!

      February 17, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • LMAO

      You can HAVE IT. I declare myself King of Jupiter. Now...where did I leave my rocket.....

      February 17, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • IceQueen

      @ Jack– Cannot walk anywhere right now as he is giving me a foot massage/pedicure and after I will be giving him a massage. Perhaps as our wench, you could bring us a plate of hors d'oeuvres. Please make it snappy, my husband is famished.
      Our union is an equal union. Tell me, can your wife cook? How does she feel about your "barefoot ethos"?

      February 17, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |


      February 17, 2011 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      You're my wife now, Dave!

      February 17, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • I AM

      I am God

      February 17, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jessie M.

      I'm so confused as to why you chose a solar flare article to finally come out with this fantastic news.

      February 17, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tomi

      Im declaring myself God Than. You can all be kings and queens under my command. 🙂

      February 18, 2011 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. JOhn Lemandri

    Well, there go da neighborhood !

    February 17, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ajz

    funny how all of you motherlovers think that the mayans predicted the end of the world LOL
    keep beliving the gov and hollywood, they are telling all the truth, something is going to happen, but the end of the world idea is just stupid.

    February 17, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • The End is (not) Near

      Well, the world WILL eventually end. The Sun will become a red giant in about 5-7 billion years and the Earth will most likely be engulphed by the expanded Sun and be incinerated. Some predict that the Earth will only support life for another billion or so years, due to increasing temeperatures.

      February 17, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mason

      We'll probably cease to exist way before the Sun runs out of energy, when the United States screws up in trying to deflect or destroy a meteor, with the eruption of a super volcano, or nuclear winter. And if we do live for a billion years, then I'll be convinced that people will wake up, realize that the speed of light is not the limit and that it's just a milestone, and a select few we'll warp their way to a more comfortable star system. Technology advances exponentially.

      February 17, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sonofsun

    i wonder if it can power my solar cooker , may be radition absorber needs to be invented , devise which can captures flair and transmit energy using like xphoton-
    wonder why sun does not explode , whats all the pressure abt , if there is no release valve

    February 17, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • R D

      its this thing called gravity

      February 17, 2011 at 11:32 pm | Report abuse |
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