So, I got a comment suggesting that we discuss the recent talk about solar flares. First let’s define exactly “what is a solar flare”. According to NASA, a solar flare is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots. Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events. They are seen as bright areas on the sun and they can last from minutes to hours.
Why is this a topic of concern? What’s got this on everyone’s mind? Well, first some sun background. The sun operates in what is known as a solar or sunspot cycle. Every 11 years (approximately, can be as few as 9 or as many as 14) the sun reverses the direction of its magnetic field which causes an increase in sunspots. Reference the definition above regarding how sunspots are associated with solar flares. So…you guessed it…we are coming up in 2012 on one of the 11 year marks for the reversal of the sun’s magnetic fields. And speculation is going on about whether or not this year will be a doosey such as the one that happened in 1859 known as the Carrington Event. There is an interesting article at NASA Science/Science News regarding the history of the Carrington Event as well as several other documented solar flare events (and some great references as well) so take a few and look this over:
And so what is all the fuss about? Because recent displays of northern lights have been so brilliant, scientists are concerned that this next solar maximum could be devastating to our electronic power grid and communications systems. In recent years, these events have not cause major problems; however, recent powerful solar flares have scientists concerns that the upcoming reversal of the sun’s magnetic field could mimic the Carrington Event. If you’ve read the above article, you understand that in the Carrington Event, the telegraph system was devastated…if this year’s even were to mimic that level of havoc, because of our technology dependent world, we could face total devastation to our electrical grids, satellites, and all electronics in general. Think giant EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse).
Now what concerns me is that depending on what you read about this year’s possible “perfect solar storm”, you can walk away scared as hell or with the belief that this is another Y2K type of hype. Want to see the two sides of the coin? Check out these two videos to witness the extreme differences in opinion.
Column A) “We’re so screwed!”
Column B) “Calm down and take it easy”
The other things that gets me is from a realistic standpoint, these two videos are from what most of us would consider a generally trustworthy sources. Column A came from the History Channel and Column B is from NASA. So…what are your thoughts?
My closing thought is this. I’m here preaching preparedness. The thing to consider is if it could happen in 1859, it can happen again. That doesn’t mean it will be this year or even the next 11 year cycle. But preparedness is something you should be passing down to your little ones and loved ones for generations to come. We don’t know what is coming in the next year but I do know this…a loss of our electrical technology, specifically the electrical grid would devastate this country socially. Not because life without electricity is impossible, but because we, as a nation, are not prepared to live without it. Are you? Take all of my past examples of “What would you do?” and consider what everyone else would do…everyone who is unprepared, everyone who doesn’t have ANY food or water stored. A total breakdown in societal norms and expectations would result and eventually utter chaos and violence would prevail. So again, be ready for your family but equally important, be ready to deal with those who aren’t.
I”m ready to discuss this more, so write in and let me know which video you’re aligning with. Some of you have backgrounds and experience in this stuff…speak up.