More solar flares to come, expert warns
Britain could be facing another 18 months of potentially disrupted power grids, satellites and flights during a “few rough years of space weather”, according to a leading expert.
By Hannah Furness
09 Mar 2012
Space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock said there could be another “five or six” major incidents in the coming months, where the sun emits massive amounts of matter.
The warning comes as the Sun enters the most active stage of its 11-year cycle, heralded by a massive solar flare being predicted to hit Earth yesterday.
Experts speculated there could be power blackouts, GPS disruption and huge disturbance to flights, as a cloud of charged particles arrived at about four million miles per hour.
In reality, the event passed peacefully with no noticeable effect to electrical, navigation or computer systems.
Dr Aderin-Pocock told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “So far there are no reports of damage but this is early days.
“The sun actually goes through an 11 year cycle, so it has period of high activity and low activity. And we’re just ramping up now to a period of high activity.
“Although this storm hasn’t caused any damage, there are more to come and they could be more powerful.
“This is a large amount of matter being emitted from the surface of the sun. It could be matter the size of the earth, but not as solid.
“It can go in a number of different directions. If it heads towards the Earth, these charged particles can give us the Northern Lights