Large solar flares generate geomagnetic storm - more information
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Solar activity increasing
Our Sun is more active now than it has been for the past four years. Increasingly, energetic particles and radiation are being ejected toward Earth, posing significant hazards for our space and ground infrastructures.
Solar activity can interrupt satellite operations and damage sensitive electronics, interfere with telecommunication and power networks on Earth and disturb a wide range of economic activity, from aviation and tourism to oil drilling and surveying.
According to current predictions, in mid-2013, the Sun will go through its most active phase in the current solar cycle.
European centres of excellence
Solar particles and radiation are monitored by several institutes in Europe. The Space Weather Application Centre Ionosphere (SWACI) in Neustrelitz, Germany, watches the state of the ionosphere, and the Solar Influences Data Centre (SIDC) in Brussels, Belgium, publishes space weather forecasts, including data on sunspots, which serve as an indicator for solar activity.
SWACI and SIDC are two examples of many institutes across Europe that focus on measuring solar activity and producing space weather forecasts. They are also participating in the ESA’s Space Situational Awareness space weather precursor service network.
Last update: 8 March 2012