This solar flare article’s contents are copied directly from my blog article on 15 Causes of Hard Disk Corruption.
Solar Event 2012 – (1.8 years still to go according to NASA) “Scientists believe it could damage everything from emergency services’ systems, hospital equipment, banking systems and air traffic control devices, through to “everyday” items such as home computers, iPods and Sat Navs.” J.R. Guthrie
Joe M on 02-08-2012 at 10:01 pm
J.R., towards the end of your response to the post I made on your Blog, you had a quote, “Scientists believe it could damage everything from emergency services’ systems, hospital equipment, banking systems and air traffic control devices, through to “everyday” items such as home computers, iPods and Sat Navs.” I found the quote made by Andrew Hough, writer for The Telegraph, a UK paper. He attributes his information to NASA but does not say who or where at NASA the information came from. For all I know he made it up. I checked the NASA website and could not find any such quote made by any NASA Solar Scientist, but did find the following regarding the January 22 storm:
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/podcasting/TWAN_01_27_12.html “Antti Pulkkinen, NASA Solar Scientist: “We’re expecting to reach the solar maximum in terms of activity, sometime around next year. So we’re expecting to have more of these kinds of solar eruptions in the coming two or three years.”
Closely monitored by NASA scientists, the storm caused no major disruptions to operating technological systems in space or on the ground, such as satellite communications or high voltage power transmission.”
The higher an object is from the surface of the earth, the greater chance it has to be affected by a solar flare or by “solar wind”. Like the article below explains, the radiation does not get much below 100 kilometers above the surface of the earth. One hundred kilometers equates to about 62 miles! That’s pretty far up. Steve at Seagate told me the same thing today but did not use the 100 km height.
After reading up on the subject of solar flares today, and until I see more convincing evidence, I’m not going to believe solar flares will affect computer memory (RAM) or hard disks. At this point in time, it just doesn’t make sense to me, unless the information contained on the computer is somehow put there by a satellite. I value your knowledge of computers but am not buying solar flares as an explanation as a possible reason for what went wrong with my HDD this past Saturday. I attribute to something I cannot explain at this point but will keep a close eye on the drive. If it happens to be bad sectors, as you said it could have been, it will occur again in the future. Personally I do not believe it was bad sectors, as Apple’s Disk Utility is normally pretty good at pointing those out. I didn’t even get that far when I ran Disk Verify.
The disk is a Seagate and is less than 8 months old. It’s under warranty with Seagate until April 4, 2014, according to Steve at seagate tech support. He would have replaced it today but I opted to hang on and try it for a while before giving it up. If I have another issue with the drive I will RMA it ASAP and replace with a new drive.
I found the article below from The Journal. It was pretty comprehensive and good information.
Explainer: Can a solar storm cause any damage?