Michael Hesse, the chief of NASA’s Space Weather Laboratory, remarked that the worse-case scenario of a solar flare knocking out power and satellite communications for an extended period is not impossible.
Recently, there have been news reports regarding the increase in brilliant auroras triggered by recent solar storms. In January, National Geographic provided an impressive photo gallery of Northern Lights resulting from the storms. The lights are nothing short of stunning.
On February 10th, NASA released film footage shot from the International Space Station showing some of the most spectacular images of the Eath glowing with an eerie light, as lights from civilization glimmer from the Earth far below.
The Ramp Up of Solar Storms
The recent phenomenon of glowing auroras is evidence of the increase in electrically charged particles from the Sun bombarding the planet Earth.
The NASA announcement in 2011 regarding the increase in solar activity made mention that the first signs people on Earth would see from the solar flares would be these "natural fireworks" in the skies.
Currently, the solar activity is high, but it is still not at its predicted peak, based on past solar cycles. 2012 will be the year that solar activity will continue to increase - a period that scientists call the "solar maximum".
In 2013, scientists expect solar activity to peak.
There were minor electrical disturbances in 2011 from solar storms, but NASA scientists have warned that there is an increased potential over the next couple of years for a "monster" flare - similar to the Carrington Event of 1859.
NASA Video and Images
NASA has released images and photos captured from space, showing these brilliant lights all around the Earth - above the skies of Mexico, Canada as well as the East Coast of the U.S.
Watching the video is an experience in itself - with the millions of burning lights on Earth rolling by underneath the space station, as the ghostly glow of the aurora hovers silently over all of Earth's civilization.
The videos and photos are an important reminder of the powerful forces that interact at the border of Earth and space.
It is also evidence that our planet is in fact currently under constant bombardment from an increasingly powerful stream of charged particles fired our way by that massive, burning furnace we call our Sun.