The effects of a storm raging in the heavens will soon be felt here on Earth, scientists have warned. The first sunspots in an erupting geomagnetic solar storm have been detected on the sun’s surface, heralding the start of what some observers predict will be a strong 11-year storm cycle.
In the past, solar storms, in which the sun’s magnetic field sends highly charged material toward Earth, have led to power grid failures and interfered with satellites. With society’s reliance on cellular communications and global positioning satellite devices, this most recent storm, expected to peak in 2011 or 2012, has the potential for widespread disruptions.
On the bright side, the storms in the past have allowed Texans glimpses of the northern lights.