Solar flare could affect satellite operation

Solar flare could affect satellite operation

By Tony Lee Orr

GCN staff

JUNE 9'A solar flare spotted Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo., is expected to create a strong geomagnetic storm that could affect satellite operation by today, officials said.

While power systems should experience only isolated effects, large geomagnetic storms can cause communication problems with satellites and affect their orbit as well as interfering with high-frequency radio communications, NOAA officials said.

A large sunspot region on the side of the sun facing the Earth has already produced several radio blackouts, officials said. This region will remain visible from Earth for the next eight days and could continue to affect radio transmissions.

NASA's Advanced Composition Explorer satellite is expected to detect any geomagnetic storms approaching Earth and provide NOAA with a one-hour warning before the storms reach Earth's magnetic field, officials said.

Solar flares also can produce auroral displays in polar regions, officials noted.

In 1989, a solar storm knocked out the electrical system in Quebec and destroyed a large power transformer in New Jersey. That storm was much stronger than the one approaching is expected to be, officials said.

For more information, visit www.sec.noaa.gov.

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