Tuesday, October 28, 2003

Solar Storm

An exceptionally powerful solar flare erupted from the sun earlier today, and the ensuing cloud of supercharged particles is likely to wreak havoc when it arrives in the vicinity of Earth sometime tomorrow. Power grids may be disrupted (a solar storm in 1989 knocked out the entire Quebec grid) along with satellite communications and even cell phone calls. Auroral displays may be visible much farther south than normal. Aboard the space station, commander Mike Foale and his partner, cosmonaut Alexander Kareli, are taking shelter in the station's Zvezda module during the 20 minutes of each orbit that take the station into the thinnest parts of Earth's protective magnetosphere. The crew is not expected to be in danger if they take these precautions.


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