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How do sun spots cause power outages?

Posted by Bill Cory
Grade level: undergrad
School: No school given.
City: Kent State/Province: WA
Country: No country given.
Area of science: Astronomy


I read an article stating sun activity will be strong in the year 2000, and that we can expect major power outages. What actually turns the power off? Does the magnetic energy from the sun's activity couple onto the earth's power lines causing increased current flow, causing circuit breakers to trip?

I answered a question very similar to this before. That answer is archived here at the Mad Scientists' page, or you can find it at my personal archive of answers I have posted.

©2008 Phil Plait. All Rights Reserved.

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