Scientists again warned that communications on Earth could be disrupted this week by another spectacular eruption on the surface of the Sun and that it might even hamper firefighting efforts in California. “It’s headed straight for us like a freight train,” said John Kohl, a solar astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. “This is the real thing.” Predictions are it could strike Earth’s magnetic field by midday Wednesday. The explosion of gas and charged particles into space from the corona, the outermost layer of the sun’s atmosphere, isn’t harmful to people. But it can knock out satellite communications, which some emergency crews are relying on in battling California’s wildfires. Similar solar events in recent years have disrupted television transmissions, GPS navigation, oil pipeline controls and even the flow of electricity along power lines. Full Story
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