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1 In 8 Chance Of A Grid-Crippling Solar Storm In The Next Decade?

1 In 8 Chance Of A Grid-Crippling Solar Storm In The Next Decade?

Image source: NASA

Jan. 5, 2017

January offers us a time for reflection and prediction. For centuries, people looked to the stars for signs of what is to come, and winter offers many opportunities for stargazing.

As we begin a new year, perhaps it is wise to consider not only the beauty of the sky but also the destructive power it holds.

Astronomers pay particularly close attention to solar flares, which are sudden, intense and rapid variations in the sun’s brightness. These fairly common occurrences happen when magnetic energy that has built up in the solar atmosphere suddenly releases.

A solar flare contains high-energy photons and particles that are equivalent to millions of 100-megaton hydrogen bombs exploding at once. While regular solar flares are not a danger to Earth, extreme events, or solar storms, could be catastrophic to our way of life.

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In fact, according to a study published in the journal Space Weather in 2012, there is a 12 percent chance (or, one in eight chance) that Earth will experience a catastrophic solar event within the next decade. This “megaflare” could disrupt or destroy modern technology, causing trillions of dollars’ worth of damage from which it could take many years to recover.

Space physicist Pete Riley made the prediction in the study by examining historical data and then making comparisons between the sizes and occurrences of solar flares.

Scientists have discovered that the sun goes through 11-year cycles of activity. During the solar maximum phase, the sun is covered with sunspots, and huge magnetic whirlwinds frequently erupt from its surface. Although it is rare, sometimes these flares burst away from the sun, sending massive amounts of charged particles into space.

1 In 8 Chance Of A Grid-Crippling Solar Storm In The Next Decade?

Image source: Wikipedia

The last recorded megaflare occurred in September 1859. Known as the Carrington Event, this enormous solar flare is named for astronomer Richard Carrington, who recorded his observations of the huge solar storm.

Carrington observed an enormous flare erupt from the sun’s surface that sent a particle stream toward Earth at a rate that exceeded 4 million miles per hour. These highly charged particles created breathtaking lights, or auroras, that were visible as far south as the Caribbean.

The New York Times in 1859 reported that New Yorkers gathered to watch “the heavens … arrayed in a drapery more gorgeous than they have been for years.”

Although the lights were indeed beautiful, the Carrington Event caused all kinds of disruption to 19th century communication systems. Telegraph stations caught on fire, and communication outages occurred on a scale never seen before.

In 1989, a geomagnetic storm – not as powerful as the Carrington Event — caused Canada’s Hydro-Quebec power grid to fail, leaving millions of people without power for up to nine hours. A similar storm today would have much more technology to disrupt, and the results would be catastrophic.

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A megastorm on the scale of the Carrington Event could damage or destroy electrical power grids, disrupt GPS satellites and put a stop to Internet and radio communication.

According to a 2008 report from the National Research Council (NRC), a Carrington-like event could cost up to $2 trillion of damage within a year, and full recovery could take up to a decade.

The NRC report stated that, in addition to communication disruption, the event would adversely affect all aspects of modern life, including transportation, financial systems, government services. In turn, the distribution of water, food and medications would be halted.

In the conclusion of his 2012 report, Riley maintained that it is his hope that his prediction would be useful in building an “infrastructure that can withstand such an event.”

“Since the event occurred only 150 years ago, it is a constant reminder that a similar event could reoccur any day,” Riley wrote.

As we begin a New Year, it would be well if we took his advice.

Do you believe America is prepared for a Carrington-type event? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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7 comments

  1. A solar storm? Please think about this for me:

    In the summer, the north axis of the earth is pointed toward hte sun. In winter, it is pointed away from the sun.
    ……… So why is the north star always in the exact, exact same location? that would be impossible if the earth were really tilting its axis back and forth each year.
    (while it were huriling through space at millions of miles per hour and while the sun, according to nasa, is also hurling through space at millions of miles per hour.
    …… If all of that were true, then the north star would not be in the exact spot every day, every year, every century, for all of the human history that we know.
    All the other stars make perfect circles around the north star. (using time lapse).

    Second question: Why are all astronauts 33rd degree freemasons? weird? yes, very weird.

    Third question: why, in interviews, does the movie producer stanley kubrik, talk about how he created the set for the moon landing? You can watch him talking about that at length.

    Fourth question: when you look at the moon landing photos and zoom in with modern technology, why do you see “copy-paste” sorts of squares around the earth? It was pasted into the photo with outdated technology.

    Fifth question: in doing all of this, why do it so sloppily? So the earth is far larger than the moon. ok, got it. agreed by nasa and everyone. So, if they are “on” the “moon” looking at a “ball earth,” then why is the “ball earth” the same size as the moon is, here on earth? It is completely 100% ridiculous. So we here on “the ball earth” look up at the moon, which nasa says is far smaller than the earth. So when they make pictures of the earth from the moon, the earth looks the same size as the moon does from that distance. They messed up the photo shoot. The “ball earth” is supposed to take up a far huger part of the horizon. Are people really that stupid?

    Have you ever looked at the path of the sun? Have you ever watched a sunset? It makes a large circle in the sky. If a ball earth were rotating on its axis to create that effect, the north star, and all teh stars, would be moving all around totally randomly. But again, that is not what we observe with the north star, or any of the stars.

    If you look up in the daytime and see the sun, and next to it, the moon, let’s say for example, a crescent moon, then how can the earth be casting a shadow on the moon? Not possible. the earth is not between the moon and the sun.

    It is so basic it’s idiotic.

    Who cares? I’ll tell you why – it has to do with the perception of billions of people of – how much meaning and importance does my life have? does human life have?

    Are we a speck of sand on a speck of sand on a speck of sand, hurling aimlessly through space randomly, one of trillions of planets? Or are we the center of everything?

    Why create a fake reality?

    Ask yourself, “who gains”?

    It took almost a year for me to observe enough, firsthand, to figure it out myself.

    Then spread the word.

    Why are all flights large upside down U’s? When I fly from New York to London, why fly way north over Iceland/Greenland? not the jet stream, because we fly the same path pretty much, both there, and back. all the time. each flight.

    Because on the flat map (ALSO THE united nations map), that path is exactly a straight line, same with all the other flights around the world. suddenly they are not large arcs, but straight lines.

    that is the tip of the iceberg.

    youtube has a million videos on it, some idiotic, some very smart, some trying to be idiotic, some genius.

    anyway, please observe for yourself. Spread the word.

    (by the way: aliens, asteroids……. come on, really? ? )

    It has to be observed. It is so engrained that people laugh at those who question the model. If you convince yourself beyond any doubt, then spread the word.

    I just don’t think it’s right that people all follow something which is such a falsehood, and observable with our own eyes. And why? Just not right.

    Most people just watch tv, why read, why go outside and observe, why use pen and paper, why have your own thoughts? Anyway, why did Obama even talk about the flat earth? And…… Just spread the word and ask others to do so.

    • When I fly from New York to London, why fly way north over Iceland/Greenland? not the jet stream, because we fly the same path pretty much, both there, and back. all the time. each flight.

      It’s called the great circle route or routing.

      Your post was joke, right?

      • The Oncoming Storm

        somehow, i don’t think she was joking. thousands of people are pushing some ptolemaic “flat earth that’s the centre of the solar system” revival. sad part is, it started here in america.

        i do have to say though, she’s right about the astronauts. so many things stack against nasa and the government in general (not to mention the blatant lies and coverups that have been publicly released) that i have no faith in any branch of the government, i believe very little of what they say.

    • EARTH WILL BE FLATTENED SOON FOR RESURRECTION

  2. I’ve never been to this website before, and now i just read some of the other articles. I’m really impressed. Great work, you are geniuses. Awesome website.

  3. Impressive diatribe, I have to say that I appreciate members of society who spend time thinking and who aren’t afraid to go against the grain. I also respect people who at least do some kind of research, not necessarily in the professional sense but by means of…I don’t know, interviewing the locals if I had to venture a guess, possibly while both interviewer and interviewee are comfortably seated at a bar….Polaris doesn’t sit motionless in the sky all day and all night. If it did it for 24 hours, it would be 365, etc…and the Earth doesn’t have that kind of stability in its spin. BUT, it does have a lot of stability: the tilt in the axis only varies by a couple degrees and over hundreds of millions of years that’s very good, it’s allowed the consistency in our climate that’s helped life evolve. The only stability is that the wobble in the spin is likewise predictable, like colder climates for the northern hemisphere in December but summertime Christmas celebrations in Sydney…wait a minute…you don’t believe in the moon landing. It was impressive. Going to Mars is a colossal waste of money, let me say that first and I don’t really like NASA very much but they did go to the moon. But don’t kid yourself if you think it was just mankind’s desire to explore and reach new heights. The rocket that put our boys on the moon was developed, cutting edge, and a fantastic work of technology and with a lot of help from the Nazi’s scientists we stole from Germany….Why? That rocket is the Atlas, aka Saturn and was developed with the primary purpose of being our largest and best ICBM ever…and it was. The Minuteman. We were building some kick ass nukes and got a little head start by forgiving a few Nazi’s for their know-how and how else can you make it look justifyiable?? Blow a little extra dough and put some guys on the moon with the rocket first.

  4. The wobble (obliquity) of the earth’s axis is an approximately 41,000 year cycle. The reason the axis points towards the sun in the northern hemisphere summer is because the axis is tilted 23 degrees from the vertical. As the earth orbits the sun the axis is “pointed” in the same direction, which determines where the planet receives incoming solar radiation, i.e. more direct in the northern hemisphere summer. Obliquity explains why the Southern Hemisphere winter occurs when the northern hemisphere experiences summer and vice versa.
    The reason regarding maps and flight paths is imple, a map is a 2 dimensional representation of a 3 dimensional object, the earth. It’s called the Great Circle route because the earth IS a spheroid. Try plotting a course on an aviation sectional chart from say Denver to Richmond. I guarantee it won’t be a straight line, even if you try o draw it with a straight edge. It’s because the earth is round. There’s no spook government conspiracy Mason juju involved.

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