Connies4ever From Canada, joined Feb 2006, 4066 posts, RR: 14
Reply 2, posted (5 years 7 months 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 1949 times:
This doesn't come under the heading "News".
It's been well known for quite some time that sunspots can cause radio interference due to heightened magnetic fields - this goes back decades.
Solar flares were next up due to their ability to send streams of energetic particles our way and excite the ionosphere, which also results in spectacular auroras at night (Northern Lights).
More recently, coronal mass ejections, in which a big chunk (sometimes on the order of hundreds of thousands of tons) of solar material is literally thrown our way and penetrates the Van Allen radiation belts. This is increasingly a problem as our society moves from older, but more robust, technology like tubes, relays, and so forth, to very large scale integrated circuits (VLSIC) in our computerized systems all over the place, which are not usually resistant to large voltage spikes. Worst case scenarios for a large-scale coronal mass ejection include taking down a big part of the national power grid by shorting out the transmission lines (making them ground to earth directly, with mini lightning bolts), taking out high-speed computer systems (on which a large part of society depends), etc. How we reboot society after that is anyones guess.