Solar storm may hit radio broadcasts

Thu, Apr 10, 1997, 01:00

WASHINGTON A large storm on the sun's surface may affect some radio broadcasts and electricity transmission grids early today, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Office of Space Science.

Solar storms or flares discharge streams of energetic particles which flow out into space. These reach the Earth's magnetic field where they cause the shimmering curtain of multi coloured light called an aurora over the North and South poles. They can also disturb the quality of short wave and long wave radio transmissions, although they do not otherwise pose a risk to life.

The solar storm was detected about 48 hours ago by the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, a satellite that NASA and the European Space Agency launched in 1995 to keep a constant eye on the sun's surface.