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Recent Solar Flares may cause radio blackouts


  1. #1
    Easy,Cheap & Sleazy Fire14's Avatar
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    Default Recent Solar Flares may cause radio blackouts


    Sept. 9, 2005 Forecasters at the NOAA Space Environment Center in Boulder, Colo., continue to observe significant flares on the sun Friday in NOAA sunspot Region 808. This is the same region that yielded a powerful X-17 flare on WednesdayŚR4, severe radio blackout, on the NOAA space weather scales. NOAA cautions satellite and communications groups are already experiencing problems due to this activity. Other agencies impacted by space weather are at increasing risk for service disruptions. This includes other space activities, electric power systems, high frequency communications and navigation systems such as global positioning systems.

    The active Region 808 is currently located near the southeast limb of the sun's surface. This region is a large and very complex sunspot cluster, which represents an intense magnetic area of the sun. "Early indications are that these sun clusters are nearly nine times the size of Earth," said Bill Murtagh, solar forecaster at the NOAA Space Environment Center. Murtagh added, "Typically, the larger the size and complexity of sun clusters, the more potential there is for producing significant solar storms."

    "We are expecting continued significant solar flares from this region as it makes its passage across the visible part of the sun over the next 11 days," said Murtagh. "Strong to severe radiation storms are possible as well as significant geomagnetic storms, which can cause significant problems to technology in space, as well as electrical power systems on Earth. It is these geomagnetic storms that create auroras, dramatic visual displays in the sky.

    "As always, NOAA's Space Environment Center and our partners are monitoring the situation," said Murtagh. Data used to provide space weather services are provided by NOAA, U.S. Air Force, NASA, National Science Foundation, U.S. Geological Survey, the International Space Environment Services and other observatories, universities and institutions.

    The NOAA Space Environment Center, one of the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Prediction, is home to the nation's early warning system for solar activities that directly affect people and equipment on Earth and in space. SEC's 24 hour-a-day, 7 days-a-week operations are critical in protecting space and ground-based assets. Through the SEC, NOAA and the U.S. Air Force jointly operate the space weather operations center that continuously monitors, analyzes and forecasts the environment between the sun and Earth. In addition to the data gathered from NOAA and NASA satellites, the center receives real-time solar and geophysical information from ground-based observatories around the world. NOAA space weather forecasters use the data to predict solar and geomagnetic activity and issue worldwide alerts of extreme events.

    NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

    Relevant Web Sites
    NOAA Space Environment Center

    NOAA Space Weather Scales

    NOAA Solar X-ray Imager

  2. #2

    bobolito's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recent Solar Flares may cause radio blackouts

    Every time they announce those flares, I've never noticed any problems with reception in my cell phone, radio stations, etc.

    The only time I noticed something was one time back in the 80's when we still used analog satellite heavily and most channels had snow from the satellite link during that day of the flares. Now with digital satellite, no difference whatsoever.
    "Jobs was brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world, and talented enough to do it."
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  3. #3
    The Cell Phone Junkie azcellphonejunkie's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recent Solar Flares may cause radio blackouts

    Cable TV is effected by this as well...However, it is on the providers end, not the user.

  4. #4
    The Digital Ruler Critic's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recent Solar Flares may cause radio blackouts

    Also, you should probably avoid travel via warp drive or Stargate during the period of solar flare activity, as you may end up in the past or future. =)

    [Yes, I'm a big geek.]
    The innocent shall suffer. Big time.

  5. #5

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    Default Re: Recent Solar Flares may cause radio blackouts

    The Comcast guy seems to blame everything on flares. Sure!

    I did notice CNN and others pixelating intermittingly last time.
    Could just be their dish alignment. Nothing on the cell, yet.
    Phones before cellular existed ( IMTS) car phones; 1977, Motorola Pulsar 1, (with a dial) 1982 Motorola Pulsar 2.

  6. #6
    Mobile RF Advisor viewfly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recent Solar Flares may cause radio blackouts

    I guess that the cell communication worries are mainly to equipment damage these days and not the rf propagation effects. "High frequency" disruptions probably still mean something below 80 Mhz, not 800 Mhz. Probably the real concern are cell towers structures than can pick up large signals that cause problems with the tower electronics directly or in the form of static? Most likely pretty rare I think.

    In my early days, I was responsible for monitoring HF propagation for the military and sending data into Boulder that fed these NOAA daily forecasts. We had a 24/7 live data feed from Greenland to CO. We used to have a gang of yagi antennas pointed up and towards the noise source at the center of our galaxy watching for absorption increase due to solar flares. Sometimes will would see total blackouts of 20 dB, but these were at 50 Mhz and below. The magnatometers would go nuts, along with neutron detectors and 'other stuff'. Plenty of neat aurora that would light up the whole sky...could read a book outside.

    But with the advent of satellite communications, these absorption events became less important to the military, but obviously still have significance to satellite instrumentations.

    Still interesting stuff and to any current Hams.

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