NASA reported that a powerful X-class flare, the third in the past two days, occurred on the Sun on 14 May. These were the most powerful burst of solar activity since 23 October 2012. None of these flares pointed towards the Earth; otherwise, they could’ve triggered massive geomagnetic storms. Geomagnetic storms are also called geomagnetic disturbances; they last from several hours to several days, and are caused by the arrival in the neighbourhood of the Earth of perturbed solar wind flows and their interaction with the Earth’s magnetosphere. Geomagnetic storms are one of the most important elements of space weather and affect many areas of human activity, including degradation of communications, navigation systems, and space vehicles, the induction of eddy currents in transformers and lines, and even the destruction of power systems.
15 May 2013