Maybe space weather is not OT

Together we call flares and CMEs solar storms, and scientists take them very seriously. The first solar storm ever detected, called the Carrington Event, occurred in 1859 and was incredibly powerful; if something that big were to hit our much more wired-up Earth today, it would cause widespread blackouts and chaos as transformers blew up and satellites got zapped. In 2012 a monster storm at least as powerful as the one in 1859 erupted from the sun. Happily it was not aimed at Earth; it missed us by tens of millions of kilometers. Had it hit us, though, well, it would’ve been very, very bad.

A growing body of evidence also hints that much more rarely the sun blows out a truly apocalyptic storm. Data from ancient tree rings and ice cores suggest that in C.E. 774 a solar storm hit our planet that was so powerful that it significantly altered our atmospheric chemistry. Similar data from even deeper back in time are best explained by another epochal solar storm occurring in 7176 B.C.E.; this may have been the most powerful eruption from the sun to strike Earth in the past 10,000 years.

It’s very unlikely that such a blockbuster will slam into us this cycle, but we are seeing increased activity from the sun. At least two sunspots in recent weeks got big enough to see by eye, and there have been some decently powerful flares as well. This isn’t to say you need to fret over every flare that occurs, but over the long run, these storms are a threat we need to deal with.


Reports on CNN of a lot of Northern lights, still too early here on the West Coast, but a friend sent this from his home in Missouri…

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And a neighbor of his…

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Well cool!! Oh, uhm, whoa!

We do live in exciting times.

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Or, to be truthful, any cycle.

“While we are not as prepared for such a global event as I think we should be—reinforcing the electricity grid and making it more decentralized would be a good start…”

While improving the grid is a good idea, it would make a very small difference in the resulting chaos. Think global EMP. Of course, going back to all tube electronics might help. :slightly_smiling_face:


There was a storm of photos last night as we saw the Northern lights here in Calif, but also across the country, and I even saw some in Florida, and then the Southern lights in New Zealand as well… These were up the road a ways, here in CA… Stirred the pot for sure…