Photo Courtesy of Reuters/NASA
Due to a massive solar storm on the sun, Delta Airlines has announced that it will reroute some of their flights to avoid the impact of the storm.
Flights from Detroit and Minneapolis, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Seoul will be taking alternative routes during overnight flights, according to The Wall Street Journal. A Delta spokesperson has also said that planes were flying faster to keep schedules intact.
The precaution is being taken on similar transpolar flights that pass near the poles, which have a thin ozone layer. These areas are subject to heightened radiation levels which could be especially sensitive during the storm. The convergence of magnetic fields lines at the poles can also cause the disturbance of navigation and communication systems.
Transpolar routes provide the shortest flights between the U.S. and some parts of northeast Asia.
United Continental Holdings Inc., is another airline that operates transpolar flights. They say there has been no operational impact from the solar storm.
The massive solar storm on the sun, which took place on Monday, is reportedly sending billions of tons of charged solar particles that are striking the Earth's magnetic field at two million miles per hour. Geomagnetic winds from the solar storm could create dangerous electric currents that could damage the U.S. power grid, according to Christian Science Monitor.
Solar storm experts indicate that the storm should be moderate in sensitivity, but it may still have mild impacts on the power grid, affecting satellites, radio communications and power generators.
Kimberly Mielcarek, spokesperson for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, told CSM that the power system isn't expected to have a significant impact, but they are still monitoring the storm.
"We do not expect an impact to the bulk power system, however utilities are monitoring their facilities, as usual, for any abnormal energy flows and are prepared to take all appropriate actions to maintain reliability of the bulk power system," Mielcarek said in an e-mail.
This is the largest solar storm since 2003, according to the U.S. National Weather Service.