SCIENCE INITIATIVE HARIPAD KERALA INDIA

Biggest solar storm in years hits earth, no damage reported

One of the strongest solar storms in years engulfed Earth early on Thursday, but scientists say the planet may have lucked out. Hours after the storm arrived, officials said were no reports of problems with power grids, GPS, satellites or other technologies that are often disrupted by solar storms. But that still can change as the storm shakes the planet's magnetic field in ways that could disrupt technology but also spread colorful Northern Lights. Early indications show that it is about 10 times stronger than the normal solar wind that hits Earth. 

                  One of the strongest solar storms in years engulfed Earth early on Thursday, but scientists say the planet may have lucked out.
Hours after the storm arrived, officials said were no reports of problems with power grids, GPS, satellites or other technologies that are often disrupted by solar storms.
But that still can change as the storm shakes the planet's magnetic field in ways that could disrupt technology but also spread colorful Northern Lights. Early indications show that it is about 10 times stronger than the normal solar wind that hits Earth. 
"We're not out of the woods," Kunches said Thursday morning. "It was a good start. If I'm a power grid, I'm really happy so far."
But that storm orientation can and is changing, he said.
"It could flip-flop and we could end up with the strength of the storm still to come," Kunches said from the NOAA forecast center in Boulder, Colo.
North American utilities so far have not reported any problems, said Kimberly Mielcarek, spokeswoman for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, a consortium of electricity grid operators
A massive cloud of charged particles can disrupt utility grids, airline flights, satellite networks and GPS services, especially in northern areas. But the same blast can also paint colorful auroras farther from the poles than normal.
Astronomers say the sun has been relatively quiet for some time. And this storm, while strong, may seem fiercer because Earth has been lulled by several years of weak solar activity.Continue...

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