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yahoo.com: Space weather could wreak havoc in gadget driven world

Toe Jam

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A geomagnetic space storm sparked by a solar eruption like the one that flared toward Earth Tuesday is bound to strike again and could wreak havoc across the gadget-happy modern world, experts say.

Contemporary society is increasingly vulnerable to space weather because of our dependence on satellite systems for synchronizing computers, airline navigation, telecommunications networks and other electronic devices.

A potent solar storm could disrupt these technologies, scorch satellites, crash stock markets and cause power outages that last weeks or months, experts said Saturday at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual meeting.

The situation will only get more dire because the solar cycle is heading into a period of more intense activity in the coming 11 years.

"This is not a matter of if, it is simply a matter of when and how big," said National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator Jane Lubchenco.

"The last time we had a maximum in the solar cycle, about 10 years ago, the world was a very different place. Cell phones are now ubiquitous; they were certainly around (before) but we didn't rely on them for so many different things," she said.

And down at the bottom:

Such a catastrophic event could cost the United States alone up to two trillion dollars in repairs in the first year -- and it could take up to 10 years to fully recover, the report said.

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IMO, this is the biggest threat to global stability right now.

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The sun unleashed a powerful flare Thursday (Feb.24) that – while not the strongest solar storm ever seen – let loose a massive wave of magnetic plasma in a dazzling display.

The solar flare kicked up a huge, twisting tendril of plasma that scientists call a solar prominence. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the flare in an eye-catching video, with mission scientists calling the eruption a "monster prominence."

"Some of the material blew out into space and other portions fell back to the surface," NASA scientists wrote in a statement released Friday (Feb. 25). [Amazing Sun Photos from Space]

Dazzling sun flare

Thursday's solar flare was the latest in a series of strong sun storms this month. Scientists classified it as an M3.6 Class solar storm. NASA described the solar eruption as a "rather large-sized flare."

Scientists use a three-class system to measure the strength and intensity of solar flares. The most powerful sun storms are Class X – a Class X2.2 solar flare erupted on Feb. 14. Class M solar storms are medium strength but still powerful, according to a NASA description. The weakest types of solar flares are Class C storms.

Thursday's solar flare erupted from a new spot on the sun called sunspot 1163, according to the website Spaceweather.com, which monitors space weather and skywatching events. The flare was not aimed at Earth, and so should not pose a concern to satellites or other systems.

"Earth was little affected," Spaceweather.com reported Friday. "Plasma clouds produced by the blast did not come our way."

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  • 1 year later...

The perfect solar storm? Sun eruptions to peak in 2013

A massive solar storm, like the one that knocked out radio communications all over the U.S. in 1958, is coming, and this time the devastation could total as much as $2 trillion, experts told FoxNews.com. Call it the perfect solar storm.

Wireless networks that power Blackberrys and iPhones here on earth, as well as GPS satellites that help pilots navigate planes in the skies, could be blacked out. And electric grids that power neighborhoods and whole cities could temporarily go down, said Professor Jose Lopez, a physicist at Seton Hall University.

“The concern of a strong solar flare in the direction of Earth is legit. The possibility that such a Sun burst could hit Earth could cause extensive damage as it would charge-up our electrical equipment and destroy them,” Lopez told FoxNews.com.


The sun has an activity cycle, much like the hurricane season here on Earth, scientists tell FoxNews.com. And as it reaches a peak in activity, more solar flares and plasma will be hurled our way.

“The ramped up solar activity is to be expected through 2013, as it's the peak of the Sun's current 11-year cycle,” Lopez explained.

The whole solar storm could just pass us by, of course, like a giant hurricane that never quite makes landfall. Don’t over-react: the sun is not exploding. The end is not nigh.

“Solar weather forecasting is trickier than earth weather forecasting. Further, the entire solar weather process is not fully understood,” Lopez told FoxNews.com. “And predicting the future is unfortunately something that science can't do. Science can give us some potential scenarios of things that might happen, but who knows?”

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Hence the whole:

Feds buy solar company, keep it going.

Company puts solar on federal building reducing pain to electrical grid and set example, make prices lower.

Lower prices get houses to buy 10k solar panels vs. 30k solar panels.

Future comment: Sunspot C32 made me 124$ that day giving back to the grid.

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  • 3 months later...

And here we go:


Don't forget your sunblock spring breakers! Shown here, NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured this image of the sun that has emitted a mid-level flare, peaking at 3:16 a.m. EDT on April 11, 2013. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however, when intense enough, they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel. This disrupts the radio signals for as long as the flare is ongoing, anywhere from minutes to hours. This image shows a combination of light in wavelengths of 131 and 171 Angstroms. Photo April 11, 2013. Picture by: NASA / Splash News

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