Getting Ready for the Next Big Solar Storm

In Sept. 1859, on the eve of a below-average1 solar cycle, the sun unleashed one of the most powerful storms in centuries. The underlying flare was so unusual, researchers still aren’t sure how to categorize it.  The blast peppered Earth with the most energetic protons in half-a-millennium, induced electrical currents that set telegraph offices on fire, and sparked Northern Lights over Cuba and Hawaii.

This week, officials have gathered at the National Press Club in Washington DC to ask themselves a simple question: What if it happens again?

“A similar storm today might knock us for a loop,” says Lika Guhathakurta, a solar physicist at NASA headquarters. “Modern society depends on high-tech systems such as smart power grids, GPS, and satellite communications–all of which are vulnerable to solar storms.”

As 2011 unfolds, the sun is once again on the eve of a below-average solar cycle—at least that’s what forecasters are saying.  The “Carrington event” of 1859 (named after astronomer Richard Carrington, who witnessed the instigating flare) reminds us that strong storms can occur even when the underlying cycle is nominally weak.

In 2011 the situation would be more serious. An avalanche of blackouts carried across continents by long-distance power lines could last for weeks to months as engineers struggle to repair damaged transformers. Planes and ships couldn’t trust GPS units for navigation.  Banking and financial networks might go offline, disrupting commerce in a way unique to the Information Age.  According to a 2008 report from the National Academy of Sciences, a century-class solar storm could have the economic impact of 20 hurricane Katrinas. Read full article: science.nasa.gov

Analysts at the GSFC Space Weather Lab created this 3D forecast-model of a coronal mass ejection (CME) heading for Earth on June 21st. Click here to watch the CME sweep past our planet.

Source and author: science.nasa.gov

4 responses to “Getting Ready for the Next Big Solar Storm

  1. Pingback: WHO IS the: “Shadowy Power Elite” with a “World Domination Agenda”? | Sons of Light

  2. When will be happened this?

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  3. Modern society has been built by evil to obress and enslave humans on earth if these events are to occure how could you see it in a negative way. That would free and wake up all of humanity on earth that has been governed by evil. We are blind by our sins and temptations. It is through God’s grace that we are forgiven. If you have lost faith regain it by praying to our God and read the Holy Bible so that you would be shown the truth and the path of righteousness. Peace,Love and light

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  4. same question, When?

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