"Power systems: Possible widespread voltage control problems and some protective systems will mistakenly trip out key assets from the grid.
Spacecraft operations: May experience surface charging and tracking problems, corrections may be needed for orientation problems.
Other systems: Induced pipeline currents affect preventive measures, HF radio propagation sporadic, satellite navigation degraded for hours, low-frequency radio navigation disrupted, and aurora has been seen as low as Alabama and northern California (typically 45° geomagnetic lat.)."
Apparently there are 100 of these per 11-year solar cycle.
Seems that there are much more than 100 flares each cycle:
It also seems that flares above X2.2 are quite rare. There have been only 10 of those since 2008:
The latest flare, measured at X9.3 is VERY rare:
I wouldn't downplay this
The flares oriented towards Earth are very obvious due to the amount of static after flare ejection. We all exist in a narrow band of of environmental conditions, spooky thinking about how much energy is occasionally hurled towards us. Just a slight lick from Sol and we could be done for.
What causes the tracking and orientation problems? Are they being pushed, or do satellites control their orbit?
Solar storms can also add a weak torque onto the satellite, depending on the orientation and shape of its body and solar panels. Again, the satellite has an attitude control system to handle such things, but it will still suffer the impulse response from the transient.
Warning: A Geomagnetic Disturbance Warning has been issued for 01:47 on 09.08.2017 through 17:00 on 09.08.2017 . A GMD warning of K7 or greater is in effect for this period.
Additional Comments: SpaceWeatherPredictionCenter Extended original Warning of GMD Intensity of K7 or greater until 9/8/17 21:00 UTC (17:00 EDT).
Warning: A Geomagnetic Disturbance Warning has been issued for 19:21 on 09.07.2017 through 02:00 on 09.08.2017 . A GMD warning of K7 or greater or greater is in effect for this period.
These are just warnings. No alarms or actions yet.
The effect of these events on the power grid is to induce DC currents between grounded points far apart. This reduces the capacity of some transformers by causing partial saturation. PJM monitors those currents at some substations, and will take action if transformers start to saturate. There are routine switching procedures for this.
For long-distance DC lines, it's a win; the system can use the power.
They haven't taken any geomagnetic disturbance actions yet, beyond issuing the warnings above. If this was affecting anything in the power grid, there'd be actions listed. So far, all is quiet.
(Background: PJM runs the wholesale power grid for the northeastern US and part of Canada. They don't own it; there are lots of different companies that own parts of it, and they collectively own PJM. PJM has control of the transmission hardware. The system is run from a control room in Valley Forge, PA and a backup center somewhere else.
They also operate the market in electricity, like a commodity exchange. Generator startup and shutdown decisions are usually made by the owners of units based on current price info. But when there's trouble, the PJM control center can order "conservative operation", which means the control center will tell generators to start up, shut down, or stand by. When they expect trouble, due to weather, high heat, extreme cold, or equipment outages, there will be orders to make preparations.
PJM had a major blackout caused by a geomagnetic disturbance on March 13, 1989. They're very aware of the problem. They have emergency procedures for when it happens again.
So what PJM says is not PR; it's the control room giving orders. If they're not showing emergency conditions in effect, which they're not today, the geomagnetic disturbance isn't hurting the power grid and isn't expected to do so in the near future. Every time somebody posts about some current geomagnetic disturbance, I check PJM's info. If they're not worried in the control room, there's probably not much to worry about.)
My understanding is that the vast majority of power infrastructure is AC, and long distances are using High Voltage AC lines
As renewables (solar, wind, hydro) become more popular, so too does the need for reliable long-distance power transmission. With fossil fuel, fuels could be delivered to the point of generation - with solar, wind, and hydro, the location of the generator is non-negotiable and so the energy must be transported instead.
So we'll probably see more and more HVDC systems in coming years.
Similar effects happen with normal power lines as well, so it also has benefits on long-distance connections on land. Since you need conversion equipment on all ends, it's typically used only for point-to-point links, not for lines with branches in between - an example might be connection hydro plants in the wilderness somewhere to more populated areas.
For links between non-synchronized networks, since conversion is needed anyways to match between them.
Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-voltage_direct_current and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HVDC_projects
The recent change is the fact that high-voltage semiconductors now make step-up/step-down efficient. In many cases, more efficient than purely using transformers (most semiconductor stuff still uses some form of inductive effect--they just do so at MUCH higher frequencies than in the past which allows them to use MUCH smaller components and get much higher efficiencies).
One of the big advantages of AC has to do with switching. If you flip a switch on AC, within about 10 milliseconds the voltage goes to zero as a natural consequence of the waveform irrespective of what current was flowing previously. A switch can interrupt that without much grief.
If you flip a switch on DC, it has to completely stop the current flow in the presence of a large current and/or voltage that will create a conductive plasma. That means a much larger switch for the same level of power.
There is a reason why your ISP has a huge switch and it is often encased in some inert gas. And also why it sounds like a bomb going off if it trips. And why it takes a hydraulic pump to reset.
Side note: The Pacific DC Intertie was the largest in the world until the 3 Gorges Dam interties--and it dated to the Kennedy administration and used vacuum tubes.
On a related note, there was a fascinating article on sf's dc grids by Spectrum https://www.google.com/amp/spectrum.ieee.org/tech-history/da... (pardon the amp link)
My office building taps into it to power the old school loading elevator!
Do you have a reference for that? They may be more resilient than AC lines, but I doubt these systems are designed to use power generated by solar events.
As for recent things I didn't even know long range DC still existed.
The technical advance has been the efficiency of high-voltage semiconductors.
I live at 61°30'N or so and there could have been a great show around these parts as well but of course it had to be completely overcast last night. And will most likely be the next couple of nights as well. Frustrating.
> In calm conditions, single frequency GPS systems can provide position information with an accuracy of a meter or less. During a severe space weather storm, these errors can increase to tens of meters or more. Dual frequency GPS systems can provide position information accurate to a few centimeters. In this case the two different GPS signals are used to better characterize the ionosphere and remove its impact on the position calculation. But when the ionosphere becomes highly disturbed, the GPS receiver cannot lock on the satellite signal and position information becomes inaccurate. 
I'm going to try to figure out whether the navigation system on my boat has a dual frequency system or not. I'd hate to be "tens of meters" off when trying to navigate between submerged rocks, and there are lots of submerged rocks around here.
If anyone wants to share anything more about how these events affect the accuracy of GPS systems, I'd love to hear it.
 - http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/impacts/space-weather-and-gps-syste...
Note that this is exactly why they teach you not to rely on your gps for navigation between rocks. You should be using sightings, log and compass. And that's why you dont leave anchorage in fog.
Edit- Also related-site http://spaceweathernews.com/ has a lot of pretty graphs to look at if you're interested in this stuff
Oh, they’re New Age scammers? Haven’t seen that in a while, but you can tell from the magical powers ascribed to anything related to “energy”.
Of course there are relationships, I just don't think most of us (scientists or scientifically inclined) know how to see them, since some of the links are not in the 'rational' space.
Shamans still have better answers than scientists to these kinds of questions, but I don't think that most people want to hear the answers.
Either way something extraordinary is taking place, hopefully it will lead to something positive in the end.
Shamans? You think Shamans are a thing? Not only that, you think they are a better thing than scientists?
What kind of Whacky Friday antics is going on here at HN today?
Eclipses have nothing whatsoever to do with solar flares, Shamans are con men and have no answers to anything relevant that scientists could not answer better and most people do not want to hear the answers any more than they want to hear other random bullshit.
If the links are not in rational space they do not exist, period.
All of these things happen to you. We've been trained to look at reality as something 'out there', but truth is that reality happens inside your consciousness and it's unclear where mind ends and 'reality' starts. It's unclear if there's anything but consciousness (note that the 'brain' might also be a construct of consciousness).
Shamans - not the con men - devote their life to studying and sharing the relationship between consciousness, mind, nature/universe, what was before birth and what follows after.
There are tools and practices to take you on these voyages where physics and rationality don't apply and if you go there once... to put it lightly, things won't look the same as they did before.
Not a time and place to go deeper, some answers come when we go on to the next stage, but there's a lot more than what the textbooks teach.
This is costing me way too much HN karma lol, I guess nobody likes to get down voted, but try rewording that first statement like this:
Observer exists independent of reality.
If that were true, what could be said about reality ? Who/what is this Observer, is it the same in every being ?
Is it possible to detach the observer from the self ? Yes. People have been doing this since there is history.
I guess that's the whole point I was trying to make.
Quantum mechanics would like a word with you.
You also seem to infer observer is some form of intelligence, in reality an observer or a measurement isn't anything more than a physical interaction.
I take you and your friend and draw 2 cards out of a deck one red one black.
I give each one of you a card without you or myself knowing which one has which.
You and your friend are now entangled, you share a unit of information if I split you without measurement I "lose" or to be more exact cannot quantify the information.
I know that each of you has a card, I know that together you have one red and one black card and just like entangled particles the moment I measure one of you by asking you to reveal a card the other knows which card they were holding.
This is a very rough experiment but the point stands; reality doesn't change and more importantly again a measurement isn't a scientist with a machine it's a physical interaction.
The particle wasn't localized because a person measured it it was localized because it had to interact with it another physical object which was the detector there isn't a non physical way to measure anything any measurement wil require an exchange of information which means that your system will become localized.
Also hidden variable theories aside, Pilot Wave Theory does make the same predictions as QM, explains the "weirdness"and is deterministic.
Still not getting too far into the lower 48 states, but looks like there should be good visibility throughout Canada and northern UK.
I can predict there will be an earthquake in the pacific ring of the fire in the next 72 hours, but me being right doesn't mean I know anything except that there are a lot of earthquakes in the ring of fire (which is something, but not specific enough to do anything with).
Also, if there is a link between solar activity and earthquakes, earthquakes should show an 11 year cyclic pattern, and they don't.
So it isn't just e.g. "earthquake in ring of fire" but rather "strong but shallow earthquakes along west cost and central America". He had also predicted a specific spot in Japan that apparently got hit today with a 4 something. (See his last video.)
Anyway, since now he is predicting a continuity along the fracking zones in the center running East and up to East Coast in the next few days, I guess we'll find out how good his methodology is.
The solar connection he is making is per his conjectured model of Earth (which he claims does not have a solid spinning metal but rather a sort of plasma that gets energy funnled to it via the mag. poles). So one would, as you say, expect to see a pattern of heightened activity correlated with the solar cycles. And I have no idea if that is in fact the case.
Let's see how things pan out.