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PIOG: Solar flare could knock out power grid

Posted by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 5:35 PM
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Last Thursday the sun produced an X1.9 rated solar flare that narrowly missed Earth. Although it wasn’t aimed directly at us, about 45 minutes after leaving the sun it was still powerful enough to disrupt radio communications.

Now, that same area  responsible for producing the X-class flare may pose a direct threat to Earth.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center says that the region on the sun known as AR11339 and affectionately called the “Benevolent Monster” will set its sights on Earth.

It will move into a position that poses the largest risk to our planet around November 9th, 2011 and remain on a direct line of sight with earth for the following two (2) weeks as it rotates:

Scientists at the federal Space Weather Prediction Center say that area is the most active part of the sun since 2005. It has dozens of sunspots, including one that is the size of 17 Earths.

“It’s still growing. The size is what blows me away.”

Thursday’s flare wasn’t aimed at Earth. However, this active region is now slowly turning toward Earth, and scientists say it will be directly facing Earth in about five days.

That storm region will only affect Earth if it shoots off flares and they hit our planet, which doesn’t always happen with stormy areas, said prediction center space scientist Joe Kunches.

The region will be facing Earth for about two weeks as it rotates, he said.

Solar flares send out bursts of electromagnetic energy that can occasionally disrupt communications and electrical systems.

Sourced Via The Intel Hub

We’ll be facing the monster starting sometime this evening into tomorrow. Considering that it has just recently ejected an X-class flare towards Earth and another towards Venus, we should consider the region to be active and fully capable of affecting our planet.

While NOAA’s warnings fall short of any imminent ‘end of the world as we know it’ event, the risk over the next two weeks of a Carrington-like event are higher now than at anytime in the last decade.

The 1859 Carrington Event, caused by a solar flare, reportedly knocked out telegraph operations around the world. It is believed that such an event, were it to occur today, could potentially take down the U.S. power grid for months or years and paralyze the entire globe:

Physicist Michio Kaku:

It could paralyze the economy of the planet earth. In 1859 we had a gigantic solar storm which knocked out telegraph wires back then, 150 years ago. If that had happened today it would knock out almost all our satellites, knock out power stations, there would be food riots around the country because refrigeration would stop, airplanes would probably crash without radar.

And again, this is a once in a century, once in two centuries storm…

We do have them and we have to worry about them.

We’d be thrown back 100 years.

Source: Top Physicist Says Solar Flare Would Set Us Back 100 Years

Patrick Geryl of How to Survive 2012 contacted us recently and contributed a short video describing the potential fall out of such an event.

The consequences would be devastating and would include everything from power grid failure and food shortages, to savage riots and, eventually, a meltdown of nuclear reactors across the globe.

Source

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/forecast.html



Granted, this particular 2 week period isn't too much of an actual threat.  But we are entering the part of the cycle where solar storm activity increases.  Maximum is around May 2013 so the strength of storms will increase until then.  This is not only the max of the typical 11 year cycle, but also of a super cycle setting us up for about the same stregnth as 1859.

Minor solar activity has distrupted some communication this year and cause some planes to reroute.  More major flares have knocked out power grids before and it is possible that a massive flare could have major impacts.

How would you fare without power for an extended time?

by on Nov. 9, 2011 at 5:35 PM
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Replies (1-4):
othermom
by Member on Nov. 9, 2011 at 5:56 PM

It would suck, but we have a wood stove to heat with and can cook on it. Would lose a lot of food in our freezer though

smalltowngal
by Group Owner on Nov. 10, 2011 at 1:44 PM

We would be fine for the most part. I have a decent size food storage area. I just got done canning a bunch of fruit and jelly so we'd be eating pretty well. DH is a former eagles scout so if we lost our solar panels, I would make him do all the cooking over a fire for some hot meals. If we kept our solar panels, our lives would change little except I would probably be making a lot more bread and muffins.

29again
by Member on Nov. 10, 2011 at 6:12 PM

This is supposed to last until 2013???  Is this why the sun seems to be so much brighter lately?


We would be all right for a while.  If it was for an extended period of time, like for years, we would have to go to my parents I think.  They are in the country and have more equipment for doing things by hand, as well as lots of literature that would come in handy.  They also know how to DO things that most people use technology / machinery for.

moneysaver6
by Group Admin on Nov. 12, 2011 at 12:18 AM

Bump!

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