“The distribution of solar flares is similar to earthquakes: we have many small solar flares, and a big one is very rare. However, when a big flare occurs, the impact on our economy and society may be enormous. Satellites may be damaged, and the electrical power grid may be damaged over a very wide area. The only way to mitigate such kind of impact is with prediction.”
My latest piece for EarthSky is an interview with Kanya Kusano, director of the Institute for Space-Earth Environmental Research at Nagoya University — his team have come up with a way of predicting solar flares a few hours before they happen.