Yikes! We’re smack dab in the middle of the biggest solar storm since 2005. Streams of radiation from the sun (in the form of protons) are right now zipping across earth’s magnetic field, probably throwing a monkey wrench into high-frequency communications and GPS signals and the power grid.
According to the experts, this latest event started Sunday night when a blast of radiation shot out of a troublesome sunspot. An enormous explosion of plasma ensued, pushing a wave of energized protons before it. This huge blob of gas (they’re not all in Washington, apparently) is speeding our way at 4.5 million mph.
And that’s bad. The faster the plasma cloud travels, the bigger the impacts on our fair planet. This particular cloud is making the 93-million-mile trip in 34 hours, a much snappier pace than the usual two or more days.
Should we get under our desks? Run for the bomb shelter? Heck, no, says an official at NASA’s Space Weather Laboratory. On the contrary, much of North America could get some lovely auroras out of the deal tonight.
Will we glow in the dark when this is over? That’s what I want to know. And what’s the recommended spf for a solar storm of this intensity? Personally, I don’t want to glow in the dark. Looking in the mirror would be like looking through night vision goggles. I’d be a ghostly green blur that blinked. But, on the plus side, I’d be my own nightlight. Yay!
Regarding the sunscreen, we can always use protection from the sun’s harmful rays. And from the sound of it, these could be doozies. Just how high do spf numbers go, anyway? Three digits? Four? How should we apply it? With a shovel?
On second thought, maybe today’s a good day to stay inside — make soup or read a book. I’m definitely not doing any traveling, not without a reliable GPS signal. There’s not a search party in the world who’d ever find me. No matter how brightly I glowed in the dark.
UPDATE| The last wave of radiation passed Earth early Tuesday afternoon. After it was all said and done, the National Weather Service rated the storm a 2 (on a scale of 1 to 5). So much for the warnings that this would be the biggest solar storm since 2005.
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