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Istituto italiano di astrofisica - national institute for astrophisics

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Solar Storm and auroras in progress

NASA claimed the second strongest solar storm just happened since the beginning of the new solar cycle. The comments of INAF’s solar astrophysicists Alessandro Bemporad and Mauro Messerotti.

In these hours the Sun, our star, is under the constant investigation of the NASA space observatories Sdo (Solar Dynamics Obervatory), Soho (Solar and Heliospheric Observatory) and Ace (Advanced Composition Explorer), together with the European satellite Proba 2. The reason lies in the strong activity on its surface that caused intense emissions of X-rays, high-energy particles and Coronal Mass Ejections headed toward Earth.

“Now the Sun is active and its eruptions are already remarkable” says Alessandro Bemporad, a researcher at INAF-Osservatorio Astrofisico di Torino (Turin). Our star didn’t reach its climax yet, but the next storms could be more and more powerful”.

“By now we recorded black-outs in shortwave communications, but in the following hours we can expect to face more relevant problems in satellite telecommunications and breaks in GPS systems” suggests Mauro Messerotti, Sun-Earth interactions expert at INAF-Osservatorio Astronomico di Trieste. The storm began soon after the midnight of march, 7th. “A solar flare occurred – continues Messerotti – and is ranked as the second most intense in this new solar cycle recorded so far. Soon after another flare, less energetic, developed. This one produced an intense particle flux, protons in particular, which then smashed on our space systems”.

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