LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The sun is making a comeback.

OK, so it never really went away, but after years of relative quiet on our nearest star, activity has picked up as of late, resulting in a solar flare that marks the strongest since 2006.

Bob Rutledge, lead forecaster with the National Space Weather Prediction Center, tells KFWB’s Michael Shappee these solar outbursts have the potential to wreak havoc with earthly communications.

After the initial blast of radiation accompanying the coronal mass ejection (CME) — the first of its magnitude to occur in the new solar cycle of activity — a huge cloud of charged particles is headed toward Earth and is expected likely to arrive on Feb. 17-18.

Among the many potential disasters that can come from a massive CME: disturbances in the planet’s geomagnetic field that may lead to malfunctioning telecom and GPS satellite equipment.

While forecasters predict no major impact on our telecommunications infrastructure, meteorological officials say the flare has disrupted radio communications in southern China.

Scientists have pointed out that activity on the sun is now ramping up ahead of an expected solar maximum around 2013.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

Comments (337)
  1. Dave says:

    Well, if it’s the end… oh well, I skid to a halt at the pearly gates and ask if I can go again!

  2. Dave says:

    As far as “global warming and human impact… Um… don’t quite know how to tell you all this but, it seems as if the globe has done this before and it’s been warming now for quite some time. Don’t panic! It will cool off again too and I suspect (I might be a little bit off here) that we will survive (mankind that is) another ice age just like the last one. So, first we skinny dip in the heat (my personal fav) them we snuggle in the cold…darn it! the sexy woman in the bikini wants to snuggle now…gee…

  3. John says:

    The US is full of want-to-be commedians. Homer Simpson is no longer a fictitious character. He is most every Man in this country. Keep on rocking in the FREE World!

  4. Rice says:

    Some writers are close,but check out a National Geographic Dated June 2004 THE End OF CHEAP OIL ask me if I care? What really caught my interest is the amount of oil that has already been pulled out of the earth! Now after you read the amount of barrel’s of oil now take a test to see how smart,multiply the number of barrel’s by about 800 that 800 is about the weight each barrel of oil the tell me if we have a name for a number the big or high?But because all that weight is missing from thedepth of the earth the next time the earth has a tidal wave and it shakes the earth of it’s axis again it might be the last time!

  5. Mekel says:

    This is a test…… only a test…….. on the count of three everyone on the planet fart at once…….

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