NASA's Themis, a satellite flotilla studying geomagnetic disturbances, have discovered a large hole on Earth's magnetic field, which protects us against solar particles, which can cause severe disturbances in power grids, computers, and communication. Updated.
What we observed was the breach in the levee. This has taken us completely by surprise. The opening was huge - four times wider than Earth itself, this kind of influx is an order of magnitude greater than what we thought was possible.
That's what Jimmy Raeder, a University of New Hampshire physicist says, but but don't fret, dear readers, because according to Marit Oieroset—Professor of the University of California at Berkeley-- even while "it was growing rather fast" the hole only lasted for an hour. During that time, the amount of solar wind getting into the Earth's surface was twenty times higher than usual.
The news here is that while scientists thought that the solar breach happened when the Earth's and the sun magnetic fields were in opposite directions, the data gathered from Themis has found exactly the opposite. In other words: These people really don't have a clue! RUN TO THE SHELTERS NOW! [AP]