Solar Flare Could Impact Electrical, Communications Systems
Published January 9th, 2014
GAINESVILLE -- It's an event that happened millions of miles away, but could have some far reaching impacts all over our world and all the way into North Central Florida.
A massive solar flare erupted off the surface of the sun on Tuesday and it could wreak havoc on electrical and communications systems beginning on Thursday
On Wednesday, the flare forced the cancellation of a rocket launch to the International Space Station, and now scientists say the impact could be more widespread.
"Solar flares and coronal mass ejections happen all the time, it's just that this one happened to be directly aimed at the earth," said James Albury, director of the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium at Santa Fe College.
"When the sun gives off solar flares like this, it interacts with our magnetic field, and it's that interaction that can cause electrical distribution issues," said Albury.
The National Weather Service says radiation from the solar flare could impact power grids, satellite operations and radio reception.
Officials at Alachua County's Combined Communications Center -- which handles all 911 calls -- say they haven't had any issues so far, but they are prepared in case a problem occurs.
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