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Author Topic: Massive solar storm to hit Earth in 2012  (Read 6607 times)

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Massive solar storm to hit Earth in 2012
« on: August 29, 2010, 11:28:50 AM »
Sunday, August 29, 2010 8:07:29 AM
Subject: Solar Storm

Massive solar storm to hit Earth in 2012 - could devastate our Digital Society

Astronomers are predicting that a massive solar storm, much bigger in potential than the one that caused spectacular light shows on Earth earlier this month, is to strike our planet in 2012 with a force of 100 million hydrogen bombs.

Several US media outlets have reported that NASA was warning the massive flare this month was just a precursor to a massive solar storm building that had the potential to wipe out the entire planet's power grid.

Despite its rebuttal, NASA's been watching out for this storm since 2006 and reports from the US this week claim the storms could hit on that most Hollywood of disaster dates - 2012.

Similar storms back in 1859 and 1921 caused worldwide chaos, wiping out telegraph wires on a massive scale. The 2012 storm has the potential to be even more disruptive.

"The general consensus among general astronomers (and certainly solar astronomers) is that this coming Solar maximum (2012 but possibly later into 2013) will be the most violent in 100 years," News.com.au quoted astronomy lecturer and columnist Dave Reneke as saying.

"A bold statement and one taken seriously by those it will affect most, namely airline companies, communications companies and anyone working with modern GPS systems.

"They can even trip circuit breakers and knock out orbiting satellites, as has already been done this year," added Reneke.

No one really knows what effect the 2012-2013 Solar Max will have on today's digital-reliant society.

Dr Richard Fisher, director of NASA's Heliophysics division, told Reneke the super storm would hit like "a bolt of lightning", causing catastrophic consequences for the world's health, emergency services and national security unless precautions are taken.

NASA said that a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences found that if a similar storm occurred today, it could cause "1 to 2 trillion dollars in damages to society's high-tech infrastructure and require four to 10 years for complete recovery".

The reason for the concern comes as the sun enters a phase known as Solar Cycle 24.

Most experts agree, although those who put the date of Solar Max in 2012 are getting the most press.

They claim satellites will be aged by 50 years, rendering GPS even more useless than ever, and the blast will have the equivalent energy of 100 million hydrogen bombs.

"We know it is coming but we don't know how bad it is going to be," Fisher told Reneke.

"Systems will just not work. The flares change the magnetic field on the Earth and it's rapid, just like a lightning bolt. That's the solar effect," he added.

The findings are published in the most recent issue of Australasian Science. (ANI)

noproblemo2

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Re: Massive solar storm to hit Earth in 2012
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2010, 02:23:37 PM »
Does anyone know what the damages  may be caused to home solar equipment during this time? Can anything be done to protect the systems?

Ed Douglas

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Re: Massive solar storm to hit Earth in 2012
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2010, 06:59:11 PM »
Susan, I would disconnect anything that is conductive from them, such as wires, clips, etc.  ed

noproblemo2

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Re: Massive solar storm to hit Earth in 2012
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2010, 07:36:41 PM »
So basically disconnect the batteries and invertor from the system? so no power gets to it during this? Asking because I will be the one to be doing this and if possible would like to save them.

_cj_

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Re: Massive solar storm to hit Earth in 2012
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2010, 08:06:48 PM »
hi marshall - yes i read that article a couple of days ago two and thought it was really biased

certainly nasa hasnt said that this will be the bigest cycle in 100 years - infact the prediction of sunspot numbers using the Hathaway, Wilson, and Reichmann method was updated in july and still predicts less sunspots than in cycle 23

i also found this news article you might be interested in

"Expert rubbishes solar storm claims

By Stuart Gary for ABC Science Online

Updated Fri Aug 27, 2010 5:21pm AEST
The upcoming solar maximum is 'nothing to lose sleep over', says one expert

The upcoming solar maximum is 'nothing to lose sleep over', says one expert (TRACE Team, NASA)

Australia's leading body responsible for monitoring space weather has dismissed claims that a massive solar storm could wipe out the Earth's entire power grid.

One report quotes an Australian astronomer as saying "the storm is likely to come sooner rather than later".

But Dr Phil Wilkinson, the assistant director of the Bureau of Meteorology's Ionospheric Prediction Service, says claims that this coming solar maximum will be the most violent in 100 years are not factual.

"All this talk about gloom and doom has selling power, but I'm certain it's overstated," he said.

"[It's] going far beyond what's realistic and could be worrying or concerning for people who don't really understand the underlying science behind it all.

"The real message should be that the coming solar maximum period could be equally as hazardous as any other solar maximum."

11-year cycle

The Sun goes through an 11-year solar cycle moving from a period of low activity called solar minimum to a time of heightened activity called solar maximum.

During solar maximum there is an increase in sun spot activity, which are dark patches on the Sun's surface caused by magnetic field lines breaking through the Sun's surface.

Because the Sun is not a solid object like the Earth, different parts of it rotate at different speeds, which cause these magnetic field lines to twist and stretch, eventually snapping like elastic bands.

When they snap, they produce an eruption of electromagnetic energy called a solar flare and are sometimes accompanied by a coronal mass ejection (CME).

If directed at Earth, charged particles within the CME slam into the magnetosphere, resulting in the northern and southern auroral lights.

Previous CME events have damaged spacecraft, interfered with communications systems and overloaded ground-based power grids.

Precautions

Despite the potential threat, Dr Wilkinson says authorities are aware of them and are taking precautions.

"We monitor solar activity and issue warnings if something is heading our way," he said.

"That will be at least a few hours [in advance], enough time to prepare."

He says while some satellites could be damaged by a future CME, others could be protected by being placed in "safe mode".

Dr Wilkinson adds the impact on power grids would be minimal.

"At worst, it's a regional thing, not a global thing as these reports imply," he said.

He says high frequency communications may also be affected, but it would be temporary.

According to Dr Wilkinson, the Sun has been through a long solar minimum and appears to be heading into a low solar maximum.

Previous observations have shown this could result in high spikes of CME activity.

"It means we could see auroral activity over all of Australia rather than just the higher latitudes," Dr Wilkinson said.

"It's unusual, but not unprecedented. James Cook made mention of just such an event off Timor."


link http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/08/27/2995751.htm

Regards

alex

Ed Douglas

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Re: Massive solar storm to hit Earth in 2012
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2010, 08:50:31 AM »
This could all be true. ..Except the possibility of an 'outside influense', such as a  planet or dwarf star, magnetically effecting the sun, and the entire solar system, for that matter. Nobody wants to bring this into the discussion. It is disappointing, as to the purpose of science.

_cj_

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Re: Massive solar storm to hit Earth in 2012
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2010, 10:22:40 AM »
just playing devils advocate ed  :D

What isnt in dispute is that we will get some disruption during cycle 24 due to our reliance on technology.  My personal opinion is that the power and telecoms sytems will go down for a limited period of time., but they will be re-started.

With all of the satelites now looking at the sun nasa say they can only give a 2 hour warning of a cme strike - in other words just enough time to hit the panic button and for everone to shut evrything down.

 I have 4 weeks of rations and water for this eventuality.  Any more than that and i'll be in trouble.

regards,

alex

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Re: Massive solar storm to hit Earth in 2012
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2010, 12:05:02 PM »
Alex, the thing that sticks in my mind is the solar storm in 1859, when the barb wire fence wires started the fenceposts on fire, due to induced voltage/current. Knowing how the slightest static charge can blow micro electronic equipment sky high, we are very vulnerable. I agree that if it is something we can physically survive, then some of our electrical things will survive also. As long as my XBox survives, I'll be OK.  ed

_cj_

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Re: Massive solar storm to hit Earth in 2012
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2010, 12:35:53 PM »
As long as my XBox survives, I'll be OK.  ed

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

alex

 

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