22 June 2011
from IMVA Website
On June 7th, Dr. C. Alex Young from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center woke to an email from a friend saying,
There are many things happening around us that we have not seen before but when it happens on the sun certain people take notice.
On the 7th the sun produced a prominence
eruption and Dr. Young had never seen such a spectacular event,
which luckily did not affect the space weather near Earth.
NASA astronomers said the huge June 7 solar eruption, called a coronal mass ejection (CME), was notable both for its size and its odd behavior, as massive waves of plasma roared off the sun only to rain back down on the solar surface.
In 2008-2009, solar activity plunged to
a hundred-year low;
"Will solar activity continue to be
NASA says the flare peaked Tuesday the 7th and created a large cloud that appeared to cover almost half the surface of the sun.
Images were recorded by the orbiting satellite called the Solar Dynamics Observatory.
A news release said the solar energy released by the event should deliver a “glancing blow” to Earth’s magnetic field on Wednesday or Thursday. But it’s not expected to cause a major impact here.
The National Weather Service
is predicting minor effects on satellites and weak impacts on some
gigantic explosions are an indication that solar activity on our
star is ramping up and one day planet Earth’s lucky streak of
near-misses will run out and we will be broad-sided with one of
these super-coronal explosions.
Solar activity is intensifying and a breakout of sunspots now dot the solar surface.
On March 19, 2011 a huge filament of magnetism and hot plasma blasted off the sun’s southwestern limb. Many amateur astronomers in Europe witnessed the blast and said it was the biggest one they’d ever seen.
This event continues the recent trend
of increasing solar activity, and shows anew that
Solar Cycle 24 is
gaining steam after a long period of relative quiet.
The solar storm of 1859, also known as the Solar Superstorm or the Carrington Event that occurred during solar cycle 10, was the most powerful solar storm in recorded history, and the largest flare, observed by Richard Christopher Carrington, became known as the Carrington Super Flare.
Telegraph systems all over Europe and North America failed in some cases even shocking telegraph operators.
Telegraph pylons threw sparks and telegraph paper spontaneously
caught fire. Some telegraph systems appeared to continue to send and
receive messages despite having been disconnected from their power
In a remarkable move the normally conservative U.S. space agency has taken the extraordinary step of warning the world.
The headlines reverberating around the world speak volumes:
Can such things really happen? NASA and the European Space Agency say yes.
Among all the countries with exposure to the solar devastation, the United States is the most susceptible.
As The Daily Telegraph recently observed:
Experts on the sun are very concerned as they see the sun awaking from its unusually long slumber with a violence unseen for generations. That violence is in the form of mammoth magnetic storms.
Those storms hitting the Earth will be like a giant’s fist slamming into the fragile electronic technology that runs the world.
You will hear of a dwelling-place in the
Since the sun’s last upheaval caused worldwide disruption and destruction in 1859, civilization has rapidly advanced a society based on a technological infrastructure that can be whisked away in moments by a severe geomagnetic storm.
During 2008, the National Academy of Sciences issued a dire report: “Severe Space Weather Events - Societal and Economic Impacts.”
report outlined in excruciating detail the potential demise of
America’s 21st century technological base. Cities will be left
without light and water, and food will run out. Civil unrest will
surge as society collapses.
In an interview with
The Independent, Thomas Bogdan, director
of the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Centre, said that controlled
power “outages” will protect the National Electricity Grids against
damage which could take months or even years to repair should a
large solar storm collide with the Earth without any precautions
One topic of discussion is how to protect national electricity grids from the immense power surges caused by the geomagnetic storms that happen when highly energetic solar particles collide with the Earth’s magnetic field.
The March 5, 2011 sunspots 1164 and 1166 were so large people were noticing them at sunrise and sunset when the sun was dimmed by clouds and haze.
The dark cores of these regions are many times wider than Earth so they are conspicuous even from a distance of 93 million miles. The strongest solar flare in four years disrupted radio communications in southern China in February of 2011, according to the China Meteorological Administration.
NASA says that,
Solar flares are classified as A, B, C, M or X, with each class having a peak 10 times greater than the preceding one.