Solar flare may disrupt radio systems

Update: What?  Nothing Happened!  Something I think any radio engineer can appreciate, the incoming magnetic field from the flare was not polarized for maximum effect.  According to NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center, the incoming particles were parallel to the earth’s magnetic field, and thus blocked.  In order for storms to have major effects, they need to be cross polarized with the earth’s magnetic field.  Learn something new everyday.

On February 15 at 01:50 UTC, a massive flare erupted from the sun.  Classified as a X2.2 storm, it is the largest since December 2006.  The 2006 storm disrupted GPS, some satellite signals and caused 950 mHz STLs to burp occasionally.  With all of the cellphone systems synced to GPS, not to mention things like HD Radio exciters, it could be an interesting day.  Or not.  Already, some reports are trickling in from southern China of communications disruptions.

Feb 15 0150 UTC solar flare
Feb 15 0150 UTC solar flare

According to NOAA Space Weather, there is a 45% chance of geomagnetic activity starting on Thursday, February 17th.  It is noted that Geomagnetic storms reaching the G1 level and radio blackouts reaching the R1 level are to be expected.  Mid to high level latitudes may see extensive aurora borealis, which will be visible in spite of the full moon.

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