Solar Storm Warning

This image provided by NASA shows a solar flare early Tuesday, Aug. 9, the largest in 5 years. The image was was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in extreme ultraviolet light.

A solar storm of moderate intensity will affect the earth for the next few days. Some disruption of satellite, GPS, telecommunications and electric equipment should be expected from a series of eruptions in the sun including one yesterday that was the largest seen in five years. None of the eruptions has been on a portion of the sun’s surface facing the earth, so effects should be limited to minor electronic disruptions and spectacular aurora borealis. A direct hit, such as occurred in 1859, would be another matter altogether (see  “A Solar Powered Blackout”). The danger is elevated because the sun is headed toward an 11-year maximum of such storms in 2013.