If you were a passenger on a Delta flight from Europe, the Far East that might have passed over the North Pole today, you might want to quietly excuse yourself and find a private place to check yourself out for superpowers or gross mutations before you head for home. Look for an out-of-the-way bathroom or TSA lockup with massive titanium bars hemming in the "passenger lounge." Barge right in, even if there are no TSA frisky-feelies around to open the door for you. Just ooze through it. Don't be self conscious about using the facility without permission; "people" like you (are now) is what that facility was built for. You can tell because of all the hooks on the walls that look like they'd only support a cape or maybe a pair of skin-tight Lycra tights. Don't get too worried about all the mystery. And whatever you do, don't get angry! You may not have noticed the delay, what with staring out the window looking for Santa Claus or drowning polar bears, depending on how pessimistic you are about global warming. If you were on one of the half dozen polar flights Delta re-routed today, you didn't actually fly over the pole. You flew farther south and in a bigger circle than usual so the Delta flights could avoid the worst of a bit of "space weather" that affected the whole planet, but was thickest at the poles, where the atmosphere is thinnest.
The "weather" was a sustained flush of charged particles streaming outward from the sun following a coronal mass ejection (sun vomit) predicted by the NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center after one of its satellites picked up a massive ultraviolet flash presaging the larger rush of particles. "A [coronal mass ejection (CME)] hit Earth's magnetic field on Jan. 24th at approximately 1500 UT (10 am EST). Geomagnetic storms are likely in the hours ahead. If it's dark where you live, go outside and look for auroras," Spaceweather.com wrote. The CME spewed out from the swirling, powerful M9-class solar storm whose progress you can track at NOAA's site here. Auroras last night and this morning reached much farther than just south of the Arctic where they usually stay. They lit up the skies over Scotland and Northern England and probably shocking the natives, who are used to skies that are grayish even when there are no clouds. The storm poses no danger to people on Earth, in planes at the poles, or even to crew on the International Space Station, according to an interview on Space.com with a NASA spokesperson. So even if you were in one of the diverted Delta flights (other airlines probably also diverted, but mostly avoided admitting to it), you shouldn't have to worry about mutations, radiation sickness or (sigh) superpowers. Airlines divert planes during solar storms to avoid too much interference with their radios and electronics. That doesn't mean you can't switch to a wardrobe made up entirely of Lycra so tight it highlights muscle structures too deep within the body to be seen without an MRI. It just means you'll have to make up a better excuse than this one. If you can get out of that cage in the TSA lounge. Good luck.