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Mon, Nov 03, 2003

Another Solar Flare Comes A-Callin'

Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it's all right
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes
Sun, sun, sun, here it comes

--"Here Comes The Sun"
George Harrison
 
"Say again?"
 
If you fly commercial, you've probably heard a lot of that lately. The reason? A series of solar storms blasting toward Earth at millions of miles an hour. They bring with them waves of X-rays, accelerated photons and bits of the sun that have played havoc with everything from the International Space Station to cell phones to ATC communications.

Japanese officials Thursday said they lost communications with an environmental observation satellite. They also shut down one of their own telecom birds. The Harvard-Smithsonian Center For Astrophysics had to shut down its SOHO satellite, the one that stares directly into the sun to predict just this sort of event.

Wednesday, the FAA recommended aircraft flying above 35 degrees north and south stay below 25,000 feet MSL because of potentially high radiation does. That recommendation included aircraft flying north of a line between Charlotte (SC) and Santa Barbara (CA). 

FMI: www.sec.noaa.gov/SWN/

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