Upcoming solar maximum could affect wide range of technologies


  • Randy Showstack


“Sparky, get me headquarters!” the officer barks, as his radio operator frantically tries calling for assistance over the fading short-wave. Bombs are falling and bullets flying. At the last minute, the call gets through in this anxious scene typical in many World War II movies.

The officer and Sparky may not have known that energetic releases during Solar Cycle 17, which coincided with the war years, could have caused radio signals to fade in and out, says Gary Heckman, senior space weather forecaster with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Space Environment Center (SEC) in Boulder, Colo.