Newswise — The largest solar flare since 2005 (X9.3) happened on Sept. 6, and the accompanying coronal mass ejection seems to be heading straight to Earth.

Dr. Piet Martens, professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Georgia State University and an expert on solar physics and solar-stellar connection, is traveling to Montana to study this solar flare phenomenon. He’s available for interviews.

Solar events could have disastrous impacts on Earth, Martens said. Effects on satellites, GPS and even North America's power grids could mean trillions of dollars in damage and could take months to repair. Better forecasting could help prepare for and mitigate much of the damage.

It’s difficult to predict when solar flares are going to happen, but Martens and his colleagues are improving forecasting by creating prediction models using data analytics. Here’s a recent news story about his work:

In 2015, Dr. Martens and Dr. Rafal Angryk, professor of computer science at Georgia State, were invited by The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to discuss space weather events related to science and technology efforts, and national preparedness.

Dr. Martens can be reached at [email protected]. For more information about his background, visit: