Saturday, November 10, 2012
COULD A SOLAR FLARE BE THE END OF US?
Last night I watched "THE KILLSHOT: APPROACHING THE MOMENT", on DVD. According to Major Ed Dames (ret.), remote viewers have seen a doomsday scenario, in which the Earth will be devastated by a tremendous solar flare. It isn't that far fetched, as signs keep pointing to that most real possibility.
On Tuesday, August 6, 2011, an x6.9 flare was recorded. Then on Monday, October 22, 2012, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured the sun erupting with an X1.8 class solar flare. The solar flare came from an active region on the left side of the sun known as AR 1598. This area of the sun has been known as a source of weaker flares.
So the October 22, 2012 flare was weaker than the one on August 6, 2011. Does that mean the sun's flare activity is winding down? No, NASA predictes 2013 (May) will see solar storms building towards a peak, though at the same time, they claim that killer solar storms are an impossibility. Gee, that still doesn't sound very reassuring.
So just what are solar flares? Flares occur when powerful magnetic fields in and around the sun reconnect. Often associated with active regions on the sun's surface, where the magnetic fields are strongest and seen as sun spots. Classified according to their strength, the smallest flares are B-class, followed by C, M and X, which is the largest. Each letter represents a ten-fold increase in energy output. Therefore, an X is 10 times an M and 100 times a C.
There is also another scale within each letter class, these range from 1 to 9. C-class flares have little noticeable affect on Earth but M-class flares can cause brief radio blackouts at the North and South poles and produce minor radiation storms which could endanger astronauts. X is the last letter and most powerful class, however, there are flares 10 times more powerful than an X1 and X-class flares can go higher than 9.
In 2003, a very powerful flare was recorded (during the last solar maximum). That particularly powerful flare overloaded the sensors that were measuring it (the sensors cut-out at X28). A powerful X-class flare such as that can create long lasting radiation storms, harm satellites, create global transmission problems, cause world-wide blackouts and even airline passengers flying near the poles, could receive small doses of radiation.
On the cloudless British morning of Thursday, September 1, 1859, solar astronomer Richard Carrington took note of and drew a representation, of the sunspots he saw through the projected image from his 11 inch wide telescope. Before dawn the next day, skies all over the Earth erupted in red, purple and green auroras, which were so brilliant, that newspapers could be read as if it were daylight. Auroras could even be seen as far south as Cuba, Jamaica, the Bahamas, El Salvador and even in Hawaii.
That wasn't the end of the story for the "Carrington Flare." Telegraph systems worldwide, went haywire. Sparks discharged, shocking telegraph operators, even setting fire to telegraph paper. Not only that, when telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the telegraph lines, the aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted, though many messages were gibberish.
So what would happen if a flare like the 1859 flare occurred? Or how about that mega-flare that Major Ed Dames' remote viewers have seen in our near future? Power grids all over the world would go down and all electronic communications would cease. Satellites would be fried. The International Space Station would be no protection for the astronauts and airplanes could conceivably fall from the sky. There would be no phones, no TV, no Internet and no microwave ovens. And if you were out in it, you'd probably have a really nasty sunburn and a huge dose of radiation. Bummer!
Society would most likely be knocked back to (at least temporarily), that day in 1859, minus the telegraph. Such circumstances could last anywhere from a few months, to years! That wouldn't be so bad now, would it? Well, maybe so. I've finally gotten used to "texting".
[Author's Note: Though I do find this subject to be very serious and know that such a mega solar event could possibly kill millions, if not billions of people, humor is my preferred choice of self defense (instead of uncontrollable sobbing).]
Additional Links and Sources:
Solar Storms Building Toward Peak in 2013, NASA Predicts
NASA Observatory Captures Another X-Class Solar Flare
2012: Killer Solar Flares Are a Physical Impossibility
New Solar Cycle Prediction
Solar Storm of 1859