In 1859 the Sun threw a temper tantrum directed at Earth. It spewed magnetized plasma into space, which made its way here and triggered effects that *literally* shocked telegraph operators (not to mention knocking down telegraph lines and causing aurora to be seen near the equator). If a geomagnetic storm of this size happened today, it could cause a widespread electrical and communications blackout. Events of that magnitude are rare but the Sun’s activity affects us all the time – from static on the radio to a diverted commercial flight or a wonky GPS app. The good news is scientists are monitoring the Sun to predict when and where effects will be felt. On today’s episode, we speak to experts from NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center to learn how and why they stare at the Sun (for science!).
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