back to article Solar storm arrives, nobody notices

If you notice the complete absence of global catastrophe, it’s because the solar storm that arrived after this week’s series of eruptions from the Sun only struck the Earth a glancing blow. Now, as people are noticing that the power grid didn’t collapse, computers didn’t fail worldwide, and GPS still worked (as well as it ever …


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  1. Suburban Inmate

    I just went ouside, looked up

    West London.

    Eff all but an unusually bright orangey star by the moon. (10pm)

    Just my two pennies.

    1. Thing

      Re: I just went ouside, looked up

      If it makes you feel better, I've been living in Finland (65 degrees north) for over 2 years and have seen eff all for that time. When the sun is active it is cloudy, when it is not cloudy it is a full moon, when it is not a full moon it is sodding midnight sun.

      1. Andus McCoatover

        Re: I just went ouside, looked up

        Must be neighbours, 65 North equates to my town Oulu...

    2. Paratrooping Parrot

      Re: I just went ouside, looked up

      That was Mars :-) You can see Jupiter and Venus as the two very bright stars a bit after sunset towards the west.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I just went ouside, looked up

      That's Mars. It's quite brilliant at the moment. If you can get to a telescope it's well worth a squint.

  2. Chris Miller

    Don't panic!

    It's just a dummy run for December 21.

  3. Chad H.

    Thanks to this we all know that Solar Storms are a myth concocted by Al Gore and Astrophysics in order to line their own pockets. There is no such thing as Solar Weather, except the kind that makes it sunny when there's no clouds. Furthermore, there are no mentions of solar events in the bible, so they clearly must be a load of baloney.

    1. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Silly man!

      It's not solar weather, it's solar climate. And it's all caused by man-made emissions - we must stop using radio and TV NOW!

    2. Irony Deficient

      Bien au contraire de votre blague …

      Chad H., no mentions of solar events in the Bible? One can’t get much more eventful solarwise than the episode described in Joshua 10 (a chapter packed full with genocidal smiting), verses 12 through 14.

  4. bootlaces
    Thumb Up

    That bright orangey star is really our friendly bringer of war - Mars.

    1. Elmer Phud

      I need a Witness

      For once I actually chatted with the Witnesses that knocked yesterday.

      They told me that there were 'signs' of the end.

      I guess that seeing Mars is one of them. I told them that 'the end of the world' comes every few weeks, but it just depends on which fairy story you paid heed to.

      "It's in the bible" 'which version?'

      "It is written" 'By whom?'

      "God" 'Which one?'

      "There is only one" 'Really, tell that to the pantheistic religions'

      "There are more eathquakes than ever before" ' Nope, there is better recording than ever before'

      Is it the sunspots that bring them out?

  5. jai

    well i for one...

    ...welcome our solar-wind surfing galactic overlords...

  6. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Typically british excuse

    > The key to the minor impact, ... was the orientation of the mass ejected from the Sun

    So basically: it was the WRONG SORT of solar storm.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Typically british excuse

      Accept it's a 'Merkin making the excuse. I know because they we work in the same building not far from DC.

  7. Andy Fletcher

    Prediction of global catastrophe...

    ...turns out to be wrong eh? Who would've predicted that.

  8. miknik

    Let's cut to the important stuff here

    What measures will be in place to protect LOHAN from taking a pounding by repeated high intensity solar ejections?

  9. Steve Renouf


    So, couldn't be anything to do with the mystery Orange network outage then? Just saying...

  10. Pisnaz

    I just got some Northern lights here in Canada, (appx around 45° 54' N) Only got a brief glimpse and not long enough to get my camera as the clouds rolled back in.

    Usually with all the dire warnings and such I take them with a grain of salt, I think there was only 1 time I can recall having actual issues and that was with RF gear and degraded range. I was not in Quebec when the nasty stuff happened. But you try and explain to people how and why the systems can act up due to these, to most people, you may as well piss in the wind.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    from a bearded radio ham

    checking (near real-time contact list from a bearded very high frequency sensor network system) would indicate that the 9th March event is a "Scotland to Lerwick" or "Russia to Finland" plasma density event. Not yet as interesting as the 22nd January 2012 or that time ('89?) in Alpha-November square with the landy and the quad Tonna's when we started working Italians by aurora.

    The sun rotates, and the same AR1429 region responsible for CME will be back pointing at us in around twenty-seven days, so tin-hats can be folded neatly and stored for next time!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: from a bearded radio ham

      73 OM 5 by 9 plus 20 QSL? <bleeeeep>

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: from a bearded radio ham

        Careful, someone will hit the Brag macro key and give you a rubber stamp PSK31 QSO next...

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: from a bearded radio ham

        Actually, that would be:

        RRR UR 59A ZM33f 73 DE G4...

        CW beats SSB in aurora any day

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: from a bearded radio ham

          G4 pah

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: from a bearded radio ham

            "G4 pah"

            eh? Down-voted for being qualified and experienced enough to now enjoy my 4th solar maximum.

            In my day we had to sit the full written exam - not some sissy multiple choice paper, and we had to pass 12wpm (actually, I topped out at 42wpm in my marine radio days, but that's another story).

            Have a great weekend shouting into your mic: I'll stick to CW and have much more fun.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              sissy multiple choice

              One word: What an idiot!

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: from a bearded radio ham

              You've summarised all that is wrong with Amateur Radio. Well done sir. Enjoy your CW.

  12. PeterM42


    ,,,Oh!, er, no, we are not after all,

    I am thinking I should have had a career as a doomsayer - EVERYONE seems to listen to them and NO-ONE listens to common sense these days.

    Global warming doomsayers take note!

  13. Michael H.F. Wilkinson

    I had a look north of the city

    No aurora to see. Moonlight may have been the culprit, or maybe there was just nothing to see (apart from the Moon, Venus, Jupiter, and Mars)

  14. Some Beggar

    I just went outside and pointed at the sun.

    And did a Nelson Muntz laugh.

  15. annodomini2
    Thumb Down

    ESA Noticed

    Venus Express had it's star watching camera's (part of the Attitude control system) cooked


      Re: ESA Noticed

      If you don't know how to use an apostrophe and are too ignorant to learn, just don't bother.

  16. g e


    They got it wrong.

  17. Gareth 7

    We had a Cisco ACE module reboot due to a SDRAM parity error

    Cisco blamed it on space weather - a stray cosmic ray flipped one of the bits.

    Catastophe was avoided, however, as we had a second ACE in standby and all the sessions flipped over while the primary one rebooted.

    1. Some Beggar

      Re: We had a Cisco ACE module reboot due to a SDRAM parity error

      Thrilling stuff. You should get on the phone to HBO. This could rival The Wire.

    2. Andy Roid McUser

      Re: We had a Cisco ACE module reboot due to a SDRAM parity error

      SUN Microsystems ( remember them ) gave me the same baloney about my Enterprise 3500 cluster back in 2001/2 spontaneously rebooting due to 'Stray Neutrinos' as it couldn't possibly have been a hardware fault. I've kept that explanation in my back pocket for the last decade waiting for a suitable time to re-use it. Still waiting.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: We had a Cisco ACE module reboot due to a SDRAM parity error

        Not as crazy as you think. Errors due to memory bits being flipped by background radiation are common, and that's why ECC is used. Cosmic ray cascades account for a big part of the background and neutrons - rather than neutrinos - are part of this.

        Your Sun E3500 problem was due to a lack of ECC protection in the SPARC SRAM cache array; previous versions had been small enough that such cosmic ray hits were fairly unlikely, but the newer generation of caches was large enough for the impact to become significant.

        The issue was further complicated by the susceptibility varying among different SRAM manufacturers and according to other environmental factors. Subsequent versions were made with mirrored caches or ECC, and today ECC is pervasive in enterprise-class servers.

  18. Steve Evans


    We've successfully blamed three issue on solar flare activity today, don't ruin it!

  19. KirstarK

    All the electronics in my house reset a couple of times yesterday and I lost 3g access in the afternoon.

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Sounds like ordinary day-to-day usage to me.


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "....and I lost 3g access in the afternoon."

      You're with Orange then aren't you?

  20. Pastafarian

    SW radio was working fine yesterday

    No SIDs wiping out reception

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  22. Andus McCoatover

    Well, it stuffed Facebook yesterday...

    I, for one, welcome our CME (Corona Mass Ejaculating) Overlords.

  23. Grease Monkey Silver badge

    Just like weather forecasters they will always forecast the worst case scenario from the available data and then downgrade as we get nearer the event. Nothing new there. If they had predicted G1 and it turned out to be G3 they would have been in for a proper fucking, so can you blame them?

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