11.03.2003 12:00 AM
Solar Flare Damage Limited
Damage from the solar flares reported on in last week's RF Report was limited to disruption of two Japanese satellites and a power outage affecting 20,000 people in Malmoe in southern Sweden. Scientists said space weather forecasts and increased experience with solar flares helped minimize damage. The flare that erupted Oct. 28 shut down an experimental communications satellite owned by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). The Kodama Data Relay Test Satellite went into safe mode. This is the second Japanese satellite affected by a solar flare. On Oct. 25, JAXA lost contact with Advanced Earth Observing Satellite-2.

Space.Com has had excellent coverage of the solar flare and its impact on Earth. For more information, the following Space.Com articles: Space Storm Causes Power Outage as Unprecedented Series Winds Down
and Solar Flare Hobbles Japanese Communications Satellite.

The U.S. Air Force Weather Agency's space weather operations center officials said the Oct. 27 solar flare was the third largest event in recorded history and the current sun spot group is the largest recorded in the current solar cycle. Capt. Herb Keyser, chief of the center, said, "The storm is not over. It could last for a week to 10 days with possible flaring, but nothing as significant as the one October 27." The Air Force featured a picture of the aurora taken Oct. 29 by the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program in the article, Satellite captures northern lights.

For information on current space weather conditions and forecasts, refer to the links in last week's RF Report, RF Report.

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