Low solar activity with a slight chance of M-class flares. High speed solar wind stream increasing to 600 km per second but easing later in the day. Geomagnetic activity is Quiet to Unsettled with high-frequency radio communications normal.
I did not just make that up and it’s not something from a sci fi movie. That really is the space weather report for July 27, 2013.
I.P.S. (Ionospheric Prediction Service), is the space weather branch of the Bureau of Meteorology. It monitors and forecasts space weather conditions. Space weather refers to what is happening the space environment in the region between the Earth and Sun. (You can watch this animation if you want a deeper explanation.)
(Picture in the Public Domain)
What is happening on the sun can effect our daily life in many ways. Here are just a few:
- Radio communications can be disrupted, including satellite communications (our GPS may not work) and your favourite FM radio station may degrade in quality or even fail
- Electric current surges can be induced in powerlines causing power failures and underground metal pipes can corrode
- Satellite experience increased drag which reduces their life expectancy and they can even receive phantom commands that can cause them to go out of control
- Astronauts can be killed by high energy charged particles. This is a significant threat for interplanetary travel.
- Aurora (The Southern Lights) can be seen as far north as Melbourne.
(Source IPS Richard Thompson)
Should we care about information like this?