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Fwd = Massive Sunspot May Lead to Geomagnetic Storms

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl Originally from: Heidi L Koehler Original Subject: Massive Sunspot May Lead to Geomagnetic Storms
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 31, 2001
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      Forwarded by: fwestra@...
      Originally from: "Heidi L Koehler" <hkoehler@...>
      Original Subject: Massive Sunspot May Lead to Geomagnetic Storms
      Original Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2001 11:13:12 -0700

      ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================

      News Release

      U.S. Department of the Interior
      U.S. Geological Survey

      Release: March 29, 2001

      Contacts:
      Don Herzog 303-273-8487 herzog@...
      Heidi Koehler Koontz 303-236-5446 hkoehler@...

      Massive Sunspot May Lead to Geomagnetic Storms

      The Sun has developed the largest sunspot seen in 10 years according to
      images from SOHO, a satellite that monitors the Sun. The size of this
      enormous spot is equivalent to the total surface area of 13 Earths. The
      sunspot region has already produced a coronal mass ejection and a powerful
      solar flare, and these are likely to lead to geomagnetic storms.

      The worldwide network of Magnetic Observatories operated by the U.S.
      Geological Survey (USGS) is monitoring the geomagnetic field that is
      expected to become quite disturbed as result of this solar activity. While
      geomagnetic storms give rise to the beautiful Northern lights, they can
      also pose a serious threat for commercial and military satellite operators,
      power companies, astronauts, and they can even shorten the life of oil
      pipelines in Alaska by increasing pipeline corrosion.

      Geomagnetic storms occur when plasma, a hot ionized gas of charged
      particles produced by eruptions on the Sun, impacts the Earth's magnetic
      field causing it to fluctuate wildly. These fluctuations cause currents to
      flow in conductors on the ground and in space. Solar eruptions can produce
      billions of tons of plasma traveling at speeds in excess of a million miles
      an hour. The first eruption should hit the Earth's magnetic field some time
      on Friday, March 30, and the second on Saturday. The geomagnetic field will
      likely become very active and there is a strong chance of Aurora sightings

      The USGS provides valuable geomagnetic data to a wide variety of users and
      organizations that are affected by geomagnetic storms. The agency operates
      a network of 14 magnetic observatories that continuously monitor the
      Earth's magnetic field. The data are collected in near-real time via
      satellite to a downlink center located in Golden, Colo., and provided to
      numerous customers including NOAA's Space Environment Center and the U.S.
      Air Force Space Command Center. Plots of the data from these observatories
      can be seen on-line at: http://geomag.usgs.gov/frames/plots.htm

      The SOHO satellite is operated jointly by the European Space Agency and
      NASA.

      As the nation's largest water, earth and biological science, and civilian
      mapping agency, the USGS works in cooperation with more than 2000
      organizations across the country to provide reliable, impartial, scientific
      information to resource managers, planners, and other customers. This
      information is gathered in every state by USGS scientists to minimize the
      loss of life and property from natural disasters, to contribute to the
      conservation and the sound economic and physical development of the
      nation's natural resources, and to enhance the quality of life by
      monitoring water, biological, energy, and mineral resources.


      ### USGS ###


      This press release and in-depth information about USGS programs may be
      found on the USGS home page: http://www.usgs.gov

      ========================== Forwarded message ends ========================
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