Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Coming Solar Storm

It was recently reported in the news that our planet had a close call with a  Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) in 2012 and narrowly escaped another Carrington Event that could have badly damaged electrical grids and disabled satellites in space.

A 2013 study estimated that a solar storm like the Carrington Event could take a $2.6 trillion bite out of the current global economy.

Today on Far Future Horizons we explore the dangers posed by a sudden devastating electromagnetic pulse (EMP) emanating from the Sun or a deliberate attack from a rogue nation with two very informative video features – the Discovery Channel’s “The Perfect Disaster - Solar Storm” and the National Geographic Channel’s documentary series “Explorer - Electronic Armageddon”.

The Perfect Solar Storm (The Carrington Event)
The Sun has bathed our planet with its eternal light and warmth for some 4.6 billion years and has provided life on earth with the energy to go about its terrestrial business. But, every now and then the Sun shows its full fury in the form of Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs).

A Solar flare is a sudden eruption of hydrogen gas on the surface of the sun, usually associated with sunspots and accompanied by a burst of ultraviolet radiation that is often followed by a magnetic disturbance.

A Coronal Mass ejection is an ejection of material from the solar corona. The ejected material is a plasma consisting primarily of electrons and protons (in addition to small quantities of heavier elements such as helium, oxygen, and iron), plus the entrained coronal magnetic field.
If these two events occur together you have the makings for the perfect solar storm. Just such a thing happened on September 1, 1859 and is widely known in astronomers as the Carrington Event.

Sunspots of September 1, 1859, as sketched by Richard Carrington A and B mark the initial positions of an intensely bright event, which moved over the course of 5 minutes to C and D before disappearing.

What happened in 1859 was a combination of several events that occurred on the Sun at the same time. If they took place separately they would be somewhat notable events. But together they caused the most potent disruption of Earth's ionosphere in recorded history. "What they generated was the perfect space storm," says Bruce Tsurutani, a plasma physicist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Recent evidence points to the possibility that this event, the most powerful super solarflare ever observed, was responsible for depleting away our ozone layer at levels greater than chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).

This breakdown caused global atmospheric ozone levels to drop by 5%. In comparison, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other chemicals have depleted the levels by about 3% in recent years.

However, unlike CFCs and other ozone-depleting chemicals, which can persist in the atmosphere for some time, the flare-induced ozone thinning probably lasted for just four years, the researchers report. That is because the nitrogen oxides that cause the depletion eventually rain down with water or ice. Indeed, it was this acid rain that was eventually recorded in the ice cores.
This solar storm also had a severe effect on the newest global communications technology of the Victorian Age - the telegraph.

Within hours, telegraph wires in both the United States and Europe spontaneously shorted out, causing numerous fires, while the Northern Lights, solar-induced phenomena more closely associated with regions near Earth's North Pole, were documented as far south as Rome, Havana and Hawaii, with similar effects at the South Pole.

"Perfect Disasters" and National Geographic Explorer “Electronic Armageddon” are two exciting documentaries you should add to your DVD collection and are available from Amazon Books.

The Perfect Disaster - Solar Storm


The Perfect Disaster - Solar Storm Also on Veoh video

Watch Perfect Disaster- Solar Storm in Entertainment  |  View More Free Videos Online at

National Geographic Explorer - Electronic Armageddon
What do future presidents need to know about existential dangers this country and the developed could face? Explorer investigates the science behind the dangers of a high-altitude electromagnetic pulse, or HEMP. Picture an instantaneous deathblow to the vital engines that power our society, delivered by a nuclear weapon designed not to kill humans but to attack electronics. What could happen if an electromagnetic pulse surged to earth, crippling every aspect of modern society's infrastructure?

Electronic.Armageddon by josephwouk
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