The solar flare and complex eruption that took place during August 1, 2010 on nearly half the surface of the sun was alarming in the size of the surface area that was affected, being so immense and nearly unthinkable when comparing to the dimension of Earth.
As the sun approaches its solar cycle maximum sometime during 2012 or 2013, we are warned by NASA and others that a major solar flare event such as the one that occurred in 1859 has not yet tested the modern technology that we now use and rely on for our daily needs and survival. Should such a similar solar storm happen again (which it will sooner or later), it is nearly a certainty that satellites and the power grid would fry. Rather than pretending that something more powerful than this event on the sun would never happen, or cause something like a wide spread chain reaction power grid failure, serious thought should be given to preparing for the possibility of major disruption, even to the magnitude of survival without months (or longer) of electrical power.
The following images and video of the accounting of that event are reminders that there are powers in nature beyond our control that could change our life as we know it or our very survival.
On August 1st, almost the entire Earth-facing side of the sun erupted in a tumult of activity. There was a C3-class solar flare, a solar tsunami, multiple filaments of magnetism lifting off the stellar surface, large-scale shaking of the solar corona, radio bursts, a coronal mass ejection and more. This extreme ultraviolet snapshot from the Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) shows the sun’s northern hemisphere in mid-eruption. Different colors in the image represent different gas temperatures ranging from ~1 to 2 million degrees K. Credit: NASA/SDO
On August 1, 2010 around 0855 UT, Earth orbiting satellites detected a C3-class solar flare. The origin of the blast was sunspot 1092. At about the same time, an enormous magnetic filament stretching across the sun’s northern hemisphere erupted. NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the action.
One of the fastest CMEs in years was captured by the STEREO COR1 telescopes on August 1, 2010. This movie, combining COR1-Ahead images with the simultaneous Helium II 304 Angstrom images from the STEREO EUVI telescope, shows the rapid explosion of material outward, followed by a slower eruption of a polar crown prominence from another part of the Sun. This CME is seen to be heading towards Earth at speeds well over 1000 kilometers per second. Credit: NASA/STEREO
A video showing a closer view of the sun’s northern hemisphere reveals the magnitude of the solar event of August 1, 2010 in that so much of the surface of the sun was affected.
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