Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sun to enter period of increased activity in 2013!

Just in case you don’t have enough to already worry about, here’s something to consider. In just a few months, good old Sol will be going in to maximum overdrive in her eleven year cycle from producing few sunspots to many sunspots. One of the cute things about the solar maximum is the increased liklihood of a coronal mass ejection or CME. An event that occurs when the sun ejects massive amounts of solar particles (a solar flare) and which are usually associated with increased sunspot activity.  During the solar max, the sun produces about three CMEs every day, most of which are not pointed at the earth. However, every so often, we sustain a direct hit and on even rarer occasions they can be a real dozy in terms of the damage they can do!

In September of 1859, the worst CME ever recorded fried telegraph lines all across the US. Had this event occurred in modern times, it could easily cause trillions in damaged power infrastructure that could take years to fix. Such an event could easily spell doom for a society such as ours and yet not many discuss this possibility. Another similar mass ejection occurred on Aug. 4, 1972 and knocked out long-distance phone communication across some states, including Illinois, according to a NASA account. "That event, in fact, caused AT&T to redesign its power system for transatlantic cables," NASA wrote in the account. So, it might pay some folks to make sure they have a small generator close by just in case the lights go out…

No comments:

Post a Comment