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Solar storms, Aurora Borealis to continue

by KTNA Staff ~ April 1st, 2011

KTNA’s April Fool’s Day story:

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The National High Altitude Research Administration released a forecast for solar activity this morning at 4am Alaska time. The forecast was prompted by higher than usual solar activity over the past two months, and the expectation that this activity will continue for several more months. Meg Farmer, NHARA’s Assistant to the Director, added that the press release was expedited due to current conditions. It read: “the result of the ongoing solar storms will be significantly heightened electromagnetic activity over a majority of the Northern Hemisphere for several hours beginning near GMT 1800, (10:00am A.S.T.). This will lead to a higher than likely expectation of significant Aurora Borealis of a magnitude only seen once in a twenty year span. Such Aurora can become visible by daylight.” By phone, Farmer’s Assistant, Gyle Errart (err-art), said “Those that have seen auroral displays in daylight can attest to the subtly hypnotic effect of a rippling sky, but it is often the sound that they remember.” Errart said “there is reasonable expectation that the activity should persist for four or five hours.”

The irony of the largest display of Northern Lights in the last twenty years occurring just as we have begun to enjoy the growing daylight aside, the press release discussed occurrences that will continue throughout the early summer. Farmer’s release read “These abnormally large solar storms produce a significant amount of electromagnetic energy which affects the earth’s magnetic fields in largely unpredictable ways, producing abnormal behaviors for conveniences usually taken for granted.” Farmer continued “by example, a similar solar event in Norway, Switzerland, and Fooland in 1973, led to verified reports of common household appliances switching on and/or off without human intervention, television and radio transmissions slowing for extended periods, and in an era before auto-start, people returning to their parked cars to find their engines running.”

Errart added, “now that we are in a computer age, there are outcomes that we don’t have the experience to predict.” With regard to today’s solar activity, Errart suggests “anticipating any need for electrical appliances, and making use of them before the expected solar activity”. He offered, “charge your cell phones and computers, grind a little more coffee, stuff like that. It’s going to be a few hours, but you could go outside, and look at the sky.”

Given the timetable for the peak of today’s solar activity, there’s a good chance that the most intense displays will happen when the sun is at its highest point in the daytime sky. Farmer cautions however that even though you may not see anything spectacular, you may still feel the effects on the ground. Farmer suggests that there are some common sense steps people can take to reduce the possibility of personal injury or property damage. “Just simple things”, Farmer cautions,”like unplugging electric appliances and heaters, and making sure your car or truck is parked with the parking brake on and the transmission in neutral, can help insure that this event is a safe and pleasurable one.”

A KTNA listener added this phone message to the conversation: click here for audio link

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